Central Elections Commission on Tuesday released
final results of the February 19 Presidential
Election voting, with only minor changes in the
preliminary totals. The final tally is: Robert
Kocharyan, 700,808 (49.4 percent); Stepan Demirchyan,
399,757 (28.2 percent) and Artashes Geghamyan,
250,145 (17.8 percent).
Campaigning for next Wednesday's runoff officially
began today with a press conference by Kocharyan
and a mass demonstration of Demirchyan supporters.
The President told journalists that he would
not be persuaded by pressure from the Opposition.
Addressing statements by third-place candidate
Artashes Geghamyan suggesting that Demirchyan
should refuse to participate in the "illegal"
runoff Kocharyan said:
"They can participate or not. Either way
there will be a runoff and I am sure that in the
runoff I will have an earnest victory."
Kocharyan accused the Opposition of using "hysterics"
and criticized those who made provocative statements,
including "seizing power by force".
The President said the Republic's highest post
is under attack by those "who spread false
data, and make anti-constitutional calls. Who
will be responsible for possible consequences?"
As it is considered part of the official campaign
season, today's rally did not require municipal
"It is not excluded, however, that there
will be arrests," said Dustrik Mkhitaryan,
Demirchyan headquarters spokeswoman. "They
can call it violation of public order and start
Demirchyan rally began at 4 p.m. in front of the
Museum of Manuscripts at the top of Mashtots Avenue.
"Up till now no one has been brought to
responsibility for voting violations," Demirchyan
told a crowd about the size of Sunday's demonstration
which was estimated to be at least 40,000. "At
the same time my proxies have been arrested, people
who fought against those falsifications. I demand
that political persecution be stopped. Kocharyan's
slogan 'Let's work together' means 'Let's violate
together, let's falsify together'."
Thirteen parties were represented at the demonstration
in which they presented a statement demanding
the resignations of Minister of Defense Serge
Sargsyan, Minister of Transportation and Communication
Andranik Manoukyan, Minister of Regional Government
Hovik Abrahamyan and Hayk Harutyunyan, Chief of
Police of Armenia.
The statement also called for the release of
Demirchyan supporters arrested following previous
rallies and for the Council of Justice to discuss
whether judges who sentenced those supporters
should maintain their positions.
The Opposition is also calling for the dismissal
of Artak Sahradyan head of the Central Electoral
Commission and for a criminal case to be started
against him. Further it is demanding the resignation
of the head of the State Television, Alik Harutyunyan.
(The Opposition charges that state-sanctioned
broadcasts do not accurately represent their actions.)
Before the rally left Matenadaran and headed
up Baghramyan to the Presidential Residence, Demirchyan
predicted the outcome of a possible television
debate. But he put conditions on any agreement
to participate in such debate.
am sure that I will win in the debates just like
I won in the elections," Demirchyan said.
"But I am not going to debate someone who
is sponsoring criminals (those who perpetrated
election fraud). When he punishes them I shall
go to a debate."
Yesterday the Chief Prosecutor's Office said
it has received seven reports on falsifications
concerning the February 19 elections. Criminal
proceedings have been instituted in three cases,
however no arrests have been made.
Also yesterday the Ministry of Justice reported
that 125 citizens have been charged for actions
relating to three days of street demonstrations.
Seventy have been sentenced to 15 days in jail
and 55 were fined from 500 to 1,500 drams (about
85 cents to about $2.50).
The Ministry of Justice press secretary said
that some of the arrests were of people with criminal
pasts including assault and illegal possession
"The social affiliation of the detained
people clearly shows that apart from ordinary
people, there were criminal elements amongst the
protestors, who usually achieve their goals through
illegal actions," said Ara Sagatelyan.
of those still detained are proxies of Demirchyan
who participated in demonstrations, however there
are also people among them who have nothing to
do with those headquarters.
Arsen Hovhanisyan of Yerevan, claims he was arrested
because he voted for Demirchyan.
"The day after the elections he told his
neighbor that he had voted for Demirchyan,"
says Hovhanisyan's aunt, Anahit. "The next
day three people came to his place and said that
nothing had happened they will just go and come
back soon and he was taken away. Later we knew
that he had been arrested for 15 days. Arsen sent
a message to us so that we don't worry and that
he will be set free soon."
Consistent with other accounts, there are reports
from the region of arrests being made before charges
were filed and of people being tried in closed
(ArmeniaNow reporter Marianna Grigoryan contributed
to this report.)
Media agency Internews has released to its website
a short video clip of voters giving their accounts
(in Armenian) of alleged election violations. Click
here to find the clip.