Armenia’s Constitutional Court today denied the Armenian National Congress (ANC) and People’s Party of Armenia (PPA) election alliance appeal to overturn the decision of the Central Election Commission and annul the results of the April 2 parliamentary elections. According to presiding judge Gagik Harutyunyan, the alliance did not present sufficient proof to show that the election was rigged and that mass media publications about alleged electoral fraud were not admissible as substantive evidence.
In an earlier speech before the Court, Vahe Grigoryan, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, said that the focus of the investigation of this case was entirely on legal issues, whereas “there are many other issues that should be considered” before the judge renders his verdict. “The Kelsen model of constitutional jurisdiction allows the Court to look at processes in a more out-of-the-box way and is also able to consider electoral disputes in accordance with broad and contextual analysis,” the lawyer stated, expressing the hope that the Constitutional Court would put this opportunity to good use.
“Either this instance will become an important arena for finding principles, doctrines, and solutions or it will continue to remain a court which considers disputes regarding improperly equipped voting booths. I hope you will choose the first option,” Grigoryan added. Shortly before the judge issued his verdict dismissing the alliance’s claims, the representatives of the plaintiffs left the courtroom.
Later, while answering a reporter’s question as to whether the SAS Group staff audio recording and the media publications relating to Armenian school principals’ illegal campaigning were not sufficient facts to prove that the ruling Republican Party had abused administrative resources to rig the election, defendant Tigran Mukuchyan, the CEC Chairman, said that “the Commission has listened to this audio recordings and came to a completely different conclusion than the Congress-PPA bloc.”
“When you look at them objectively and impartially and not with prejudice, the impression is totally different,” Mukuchyan insisted. He added that in his closing remarks he wanted to he “sincerely wanted to thank” Armenian National Congress member Levon Zurabyan “for his great contribution to the issue of installing video cameras at polling stations. It allowed us to ensure that the election process was conducted in a transparent and lawful manner.”