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Sargsyan wins widely anticipated reelection in Armenia


Just as Rafael Correa won his widely expected reelection as president of Ecuador, Armenian president Serzh Sargsyan (Սերժ Սարգսյան) has won reelection for another five-year term.armenia flag

Exit polls showed Sargsyan with around 58% of the vote to just 32% of the vote for his nearest challenger, Raffi Hovannisian (Րաֆֆի Հովհաննիսյան), an opposition leader and Armenia’s foreign minister from 1991 to 1992 under former president Levon Ter-Petrosyan (Լևոն Տեր-Պետրոսյան).

The race’s most prominent news was the attempted assassination of longshot candidate Paruyr Hayrikyan (Պարոյր Հայրիկեան), a former Soviet dissident, though polls showed that he won no more than 3% in Monday’s vote.

Sargsyan’s reelection was never really in doubt as the campaign closed.

Sargsyan’s party, the Republican Party of Armenia (HHK, Հայաստանի Հանրապետական Կուսակցություն), controls the Armenian National Assembly, and has ruled Armenia since 1998.

Both Ter-Petrosyan and wealthy oligarch Gagik Tsarukian (Գագիկ Ծառուկյան), the leader of the largest Armenian opposition party, Prosperous Armenia (BHK, Բարգավաճ Հայաստան Կուսակցություն) chose not to run in the election, thereby depriving Sargsyan of two potentially dangerous challengers.

Sargsyan has a full plate ahead of him — the Armenian economy is still shaky following a global crisis that sent nearly a million Armenians out of the country, he’ll need to balance Armenia’s good relations with both Europe, the United States and Russia, and he faces two regional challenges over frayed relations with Turkey (and the 100th anniversary of the Armenia genocide in 2015, with emotions running high, won’t likely help matters), and with Azerbaijan, where the breakaway region of disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh continues to rankle relations following a war between Azerbaijan and Armenia that ended in 1994.

Despite Hayrikyan shooting, Sargsyan remains lock for Armenian election


Armenia’s looming February 18 presidential election made headlines a weekend ago when one of its candidate, Paruyr Hayrikyan (Պարոյր Հայրիկեան), was shot.armenia flag

Despite the assassination attempt, however, the election will go on as scheduled, and Hayrikyan has withdrawn a court application to delay the election by two weeks, despite an unsuccessful attempt to obtain the united backing of all opposition candidates behind his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