Azerbaijan, Baku, Feb. 19 / Trend /
Trend commentator Arzu Naghiyev
Presidential elections were held in Armenia on Feb. 18. Seven candidates participated: incumbent president, Republican Party leader Serzh Sargsyan, former Prime Minister and leader of the "Freedom" party Hrant Bagratyan, former Foreign Minister, Chairman of Heritage party Raffi Hovannisian, Paruyr Hayrikyan, Arman Melikyan, Andrias Ghukasyan and Vardan Sedrakian.
According to preliminary results, Armenian incumbent President Serzh Sargsyan won the elections with 58.64 percent of the vote. First Foreign Minister of Armenia Raffi Hovannisian ranked second scoring 36.75 percent of the vote, Former Prime Minister Hrant Bagratyan ranked third scoring 2.15 percent.
There was no doubt surrounding Serzh Sargsyan's victory because his most formidable rivals - the leader of the Armenian National Congress Levon Ter-Petrosyan, Chairman of the "Prosperous Armenia" party, oligarch Gagik Sarukyan and ex-president Robert Kocharyan did not participate in the elections. The Dashnaktsutyun party did not nominate a candidate and urged its electorate to boycott the elections.
Sargsyan faced a crisis in the government during the previous presidential elections in 2008. He declared himself the winner of the elections due to his previous positions. His opponent was Levon Ter-Petrosyan. At least ten people were killed during protests after those elections.
Sargsyan did not face strong resistance during the recent elections. The main reason behind this is that Armenia prefers authoritarianism. The weakness and lack of democratic institutions led to a split in the opposition.
The candidates began to speak about electoral irregularities about an hour before the polls closed. They mentioned the figures of the Central Election Commission as the argument.
So, as of 17:00, the CEC announced that allegedly 1,259,374 people voted. This is the number of physical voters living in Armenia at the moment, which means 100 percent of votes were cast. So, as expected, the elections were rigged. Drawing from the conclusions of international observers, one can voice certain judgments related to the elections. So, if the elections are assessed positively by the international community, Sargsyan's legitimacy will increase and he will have the opportunity to hold or avoid pro-Western reforms. Armenia will continue cooperating with Russia.
The positive assessment given by the international community of the recent elections in neighboring Georgia cannot be applied to Armenia, this is due to the corruptibility of authorities. For example, despite the fact that Azerbaijan and Georgia are open to foreign investors, organized crime groups in Armenia are doing everything to keep out foreign capital.
Armenian Diaspora organizations have begun to realize that investment in the country is a lost cause and there is no benefit for the people. Youth and Armenian citizens with higher education leave for the West. The older generations move to Russia with pleasure.
After the presidential elections, Armenia will get an opportunity to choose its destiny - a democratic society and alignment with the West and its liberal economies, or Sargsyan, who will put Armenia in line with other autocratic countries of the former Soviet Union.
By calling these recent occurrences "elections", Armenian authorities are mocking their own citizens.
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