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Eight Tsarukyan Bloc Deputies Successfully Reinstate Their Parliamentary Mandates

Armenia’s Central Election Commission today granted the appeals filed by eight men who were elected to the Armenian parliament on the Tsarukyan bloc ticket challenging bloc leader, businessman Gagik Tsarukyan’s decision to give their parliament seats to other candidates. The applicants, the total number of whom equaled 12, claimed that the relinquishment letters previously submitted to the CEC by the alliance leadership had not actually been signed by them. They further added that they hadn’t even been aware that such letters had been submitted on their behalf.

Speaking to reporters after the issuance of the CEC decision, the applicants who successfully reinstated their mandates, and their lawyers said the Commission had in fact been presented with documents signed by the then-candidates in February, according to which they were withdrawing their candidatures from the April 2 parliamentary elections.

“These old candidature withdrawal applications were presented to the CEC [by the Tsarukyan bloc] as a request for mandate relinquishment. But these men could not know in February whether they would be elected in April. It’s illogical,” Harutyun Harutyunyan, a lawyer for reinstated deputy Sergey Bagratyan, told reporters.

When asked why the candidates had signed withdrawal applications in the first place, Harutyunyan said; “It’s a routine document; so that in case of illness or absence from the country the candidates are not on the lists during the elections.”

Deputy Napoleon Azizyan’s lawyer, Lernik Hovhannisyan, in turn, explained; “He signed the application because he did intend to participate in the election for lack of funds. But [Gagik] Tsarukyan financed him and gave him the opportunity to.”

“Tsarukyan financed Azizyan and then decided that he should not be in the parliament?” one of the reporters asked Hovhannisyan, who, as other lawyers before him, avoided answering “political questions.”

“This is politics. I can’t say whether the decision was made by Tsarukyan or someone else,” he said.

CEC chairman Tigran Mukuchyan, for his part, gave a vague response when asked by reporters whether the submitted applications were for candidature withdrawal or mandate relinquishment. “Judging by their content, it is obvious that they were mandate resignations. The focus should be on the content side of the applications,” Mukuchyan said.

According to the CEC chairman, the Commission had decided to reinstate 8 of the 12 applicants because the other 4 “were not actually elected to the parliament in the first place.”