Armenia’s looming February 18 presidential election made headlines a weekend ago when one of its candidate, Paruyr Hayrikyan (Պարոյր Հայրիկեան), was shot.
Despite the assassination attempt, however, the election will go on as scheduled, and Hayrikyan has withdrawn a court application to delay the election by two weeks, despite an unsuccessful attempt to obtain the united backing of all opposition candidates behind his campaign.
With or without the delay, however, the election’s result was never incredibly in doubt — Serzh Sargsyan (Սերժ Սարգսյան) is the overwhelming favorite to be reelected as Armenia’s president, in a country with uncertain democratic norms and with several economic and geopolitical problems facing it in the years ahead, including complex relations with the United States, Europe, Russia, Turkey and its neighbors in the South Caucasus.
Despite the fact that Armenian media has focused intensely on the Hayrikyan assassination attempt in the past two weeks, the latest polls shows that Sargsyan (pictured above with Russian prime minister and former Russian president Dmitri Medvedev) will easily win the contest with nearly 68% of Armenians supporting his candidacy, with just 24% supporting Raffi Hovannisian (Րաֆֆի Հովհաննիսյան), with only 5% supporting Hayrikyan and none of the other five candidates winning more than 2% of the vote.
Though elections in Armenia have the trappings of democracy, and they are, in fact, freer and fairer than the show elections of, say, Belarus, they are often rigged in favor of the governing party — and since the collapse of the Soviet Union, that’s meant first the administration of president Levon Ter-Petrosyan from 1991 to 1998, his successor Robert Kocharyan from 1998 to 2008 and now, Kocharyan’s protége, Sargsyan since 2008. Continue reading Despite Hayrikyan shooting, Sargsyan remains lock for Armenian election