Armenian Constitutional Court considering appeal by candidates to annul Presidential election result

The Armenian Constitutional Court in session. (picture courtesy of

The Armenian Constitutional Court in session. (picture courtesy of

The Armenian Constitutional Court has started considering an appeal by Raffi Hovannisian and other contestants in last months’ presidential election to annul the result because of election fraud.

The Constitutional Court

is expected to give its judgment to the challenge to the election results by Thursday, 15 March when Hovannisian plans to hold another rally in Yerevan’s Liberty Square.



The Georgian roller-coaster continues non stop.

Bidhzina Ivanishvili at the Congress of his Georgian Dream Party in Tbilisi on 16 February 2013.

Bidhzina Ivanishvili at the Congress of his Georgian Dream Party in Tbilisi on 16 February 2013.

Only days after Georgian politics plunged into pessimism with ugly scenes of intolerance in front of the National Library as President, Government and Parliament played a cat and mouse game which they insist on calling cohabitation, it was time for the roller coaster to turn on the up side. Reconciliation was in the air as the two sides pulled back from brinkmanship politics and focused instead on necessary compromise. The sight of two MPs, one from the government coalition and one from the opposition having a fist fight on live prime tv was not reassuring, but Georgians have got used to theatrics and are no longer much impressed by it.

Of more substance was the news that the Government and the opposition were edging closer to agreeing a constitutional settlement that would address the immediate concerns of the two sides. More…

The EU and the elusive quest for freedom of speech in the South Caucasus: Keep the message simple and consistent.

The European Union has few tools at its disposal when responding to threats to freedom of speech in the South Caucasus, except for its moral authority. The institution and its member states are not perfect by far, but together they represent the best practise on issues related to human rights and democratic traditions. Governments and people in the South Caucasus recognise this even if they do not always admit it.

eu flagThe events of the last few days in the three South Caucasus countries caused concern. None was serious enough to trigger a crisis but all were serious enough to raise alarm bells and to highlight the question as to what is the end game of the EU with regards to the region on this issue. The soul searching has started and it will continue, probably until November or thereabouts when the EU expects either to welcome Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia closer to it through Association Agreements, or relegate all or some of them to the status of trade partners. More…

Armenia’s Presidential candidates: Top row from left to right: Serzh Sargsyan, Raffi Hovhannisyan, Hrant Bagratyan, Paruyr Hayrikyan; Second row from left to right: Arman Melikyan, Andrias Ghukasyan, Vardan Sedrakyan, Aram Harutyunyan (picture courtesy of ArmeniaNow news portal).

Armenian elections: one out, and seven left (but one is on hunger strike and another in hospital recovering from an assassination attempt).

One of the candidates in the Armenian presidential elections formally withdrew from the race on 8 February. The Central Elections Commission duly accepted his withdrawal and cancelled his candidature.  Aram Harutyunyan call for the other six candidates challenging incumbent President Serzh Sargsyan to withdraw from the race has not so far been heeded.

However the situation is far from usual. One other Presidential contender Andreas Ghukasyan has been on hunger strike since the election campaign formally kicked off. Attempts to get him to stop the hunger strike have so far failed. Ghukasyan is protesting against the electoral process which he says is flawed and is asking the Central Elections Commission to bar Sargsyan from the poll.

A third presidential candidate, Pruyur Hayrikyan is in hospital recovering from an assissantation attempt on him a week ago. His medical situation was reported to have deteriorated in the last days and he has been asked by doctors not to leave the hospital bed despite successful surgery on him on Saturday. The Armenian Ministry of National Security has reported that it has arrested two suspects in connection with the assassination attempt. More…

Republican Party of Armenia boycotts special session in National Assembly, possibly driving opposition parties closer together.

“We need to put aside our narrow party and personal interests, consolidate and with a united agenda – and, why not, with a single candidate – contest the presidential election,” said Vartan Oskanian, former Foreign Minister and a leading Member of Parliament with the Prosperous Armenia Party (PAP), to a crowd of supporters that had gathered outside the Armenian parliamentary buildings on Wednesday 21 November. More…

The Parliament building in Yerevan.

Armenian opposition parties contemplate co-operation ahead of presidential elections in 2013.

Opposition legislators in Armenia have called for a special session of parliament to discuss possible amendments to the Electoral Code, the Criminal Code and the Law on the State Registration of the Population.

The amendments, hopes the opposition, will be “instrumental in preventing fraud” in the upcoming Presidential election in February 2013. Of particular salience is the proposed amendment to exclude Armenian citizens who have lived outside of Armenia for more than six month from the electoral lists. “We suggest that from now on only citizens who are in the territory of Armenia should be included in the electoral roll. All those who are absent from Armenia for more than six months must be excluded from this roll,” said Levon Zurabian, the leader of the Armenian National Congress (ANC) representatives in the National Assembly. More…