Today we live in a society, which can not imagine life without expressing views on social media. Probably it does have certain advantages. Nevertheless, many participants of active discussions have already forgotten or do not even know about the developments, which unfolded in Armenia 5, 10 or 15 years ago.
To fill the gap Mediamax presents 5/10/15 project, which introduce developments in Armenia 5,10 and 15 years ago.
• 15 YEARS AGO: 19-25 FEBRUARY, 2003
Armenia held presidential elections on February 19. On the same day, four opposition candidates - Vazgen Manukyan, Aram Karapetyan, Stepan Demirchyan and Artashes Geghamyan - issued a statement, which indicated that “numerous violations and use of violence” occurred during the voting procedure.
“Taking into account the mass violations and manifestations of violence during the voting procedure, we hereby state that the free and fair course of the voting process, as well as the image of the country are under threat. All this is evidence that Robert Kocharyan’s regime tries to preserve the power by all means, but it will not succeed,” read the statement.
On February 20, OSCE and Council of Europe observers stated that “the election process fell short of international standards in several key respects”.
“It is encouraging that election day went reasonably well, but serious irregularities did not enable us to make an overall positive assessment,” said Lord Russell-Johnston, Head of the Delegation of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.
The second round
On February 20, the Central Electoral Committee (CEC) of Armenia adopted the decision to hold the second round of elections, where acting President Robert Kocharyan and the leader of People’s Party of Armenia, Stepan Demirchyan would meet. Kocharyan and Demirchyan gained 49.8% and 27.7% of votes respectively. Artashes Geghamyan with 17% came third.
Robert Kocharyan told in the interview with the Armenian Public TV Channel that the votes he gained in the first round would “give him a convincing victory in the second round”.
When commenting on the opposition’s claims that the Armenian authorities had rigged the elections, the president said:
“I am sure the opposition is simply surprised that we gained the 49.8% and didn’t “add up” more votes. They can apply to the court and try to prove their claims. But I think that will result in fewer votes for the opposition, as they were violating the procedures much more actively in these elections.”
On February 24, leader of the National Unification Party Artashes Geghamyan said that “current Armenian authorities know well that they will be executed by shooting if the opposition wins”. Geghamyan added that only he was able to provide “a dignified and peaceful departure from office for Robert Kocharyan”.
“Everything was done not to allow me into the second round of elections, though only Artashes Geghamyan was the guarantee that the blood would not be shed in the country,” said the leader of National Unification Party.
Head of Stepan Demirchyan’s campaign office Grigor Harutyunyan was perplexed by Artashes Geghamyan’s statement. When interviewed by Mediamax, he said, “We fight for establishment of prevalence of law in Armenia and our candidate has never made statements about causing bodily harm to the authorities.”
• 10 YEARS AGO: 19-25 FEBRUARY, 2008
“99% of the votes”
On February 19, Armenia held presidential elections.
Presidential candidate Levon Ter-Petrosyan expressed confidence that he would gain “99% of votes” and win in the very first round of the elections.
Head of Ter-Petrosyan’s campaign office Aleksandr Arzumanyan stated that they “won the presidential elections, which concluded a few minutes ago in Armenia, despite all the efforts of the leaders of the kleptocratic regime”.
Congratulations from Kocharyan
On February 20, Armenian President Robert Kocharyan sent a congratulatory message to Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan on winning the presidential elections.
“The votes, which you gained during free and fair elections, are the votes for the continuation of reforms, aimed at the swiftest development and democratization of Armenia. I am confident that the first years of your term as the President will be marked with consolidation of stability in the country and strengthening of tolerance in the society,” read the message.
“Mostly in line”
On February 20, the joint International Observation Mission of ODIHR/OSCE, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly and the European Parliament stated that the presidential election in Armenia was administered “mostly in line” with the OSCE and CoE commitments and standards.
On February 20, Secretary General of the Council of European Union Javier Solana congratulated the Armenian people “on holding orderly and competitive presidential elections”.
On February 23, U.S. Department of State Deputy Spokesman Tom Casey said that the United States “congratulate the people of Armenia on the active and competitive presidential election and note the preliminary assessment of the OSCE ODIHR and Parliamentary Assembly that the election was “mostly in line with OSCE and Council of Europe commitments and standards for democratic elections”.
On February 24, Armenia’s Central Electoral Commission summed up the final data of the presidential elections, according to which Serzh Sargsyan was elected President of Armenia, having gained 862 369 votes (52.82%). He was followed by former President of Armenia Levon Ter-Petrosyan, who gained 351 222 votes (21.5%).
Sacking of MFA officials
On February 25, Armenian Foreign Minister Vardan Oskanyan signed a decree on dismissal of six employees of the ministry, who supported the former president Levon Ter-Petrosyan.
Minister Oskanyan reminded that the Armenian law “On diplomatic service” forbids the employees of the ministry to be involved in political activity.
Deputy Foreign Minister Armen Bayburdyan, MFA Spokesman Vladimir Karapetyan and Head of the NATO Department Marta Ayvazyan were among the employees who supported Ter-Petrosyan.
• 5 YEARS AGO: 19-25 FEBRUARY, 2013
On February 19, the International Election Observation Mission (IOM) stated that Armenian presidential elections of 2013 were “an improvement” as compared to the 2008 presidential elections.
On February 20, EU High Representative Catherine Ashton and Commissioner Stefan Fule welcomed “further progress made by the Armenian authorities in their efforts to hold these presidential elections in line with international standards”.
On February 21, the United States congratulated Armenia on the presidential elections, “which were judged by international observers to be generally well-administered and characterized by a respect for fundamental freedoms”.
“No” to all proposals
Raffi Hovhannisyan and Serzh Sargsyan held a meeting on February 21, 2013. While speaking at a rally on the following day, Hovhannisyan stated that Serzh Sargsyan responded negatively to his ‘urge to recognize the victory of the people’.
“Recognize the victory of the people’: the answer is “no”; a new election for the future of the Armenian people: the answer is “no”. Not ready to accept people’s victory? Let’s switch to a proportional system and conduct parliamentary elections: the answer is “no”,” said Raffi Hovhannisyan.