“National Assembly Elections: v1.0-v4.0”: 2007 - Mediamax.am

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“National Assembly Elections: v1.0-v4.0”: 2007

Mediamax completes "National Assembly Elections v1.0-v4.0” special project, which aimed to present the most interesting facts and events of 1995, 1999, 2003 and 2007 elections.

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Mediamax completes “National Assembly Elections v1.0-v4.0” special project, which aimed to present the most interesting facts and events of 1995, 1999, 2003 and 2007 elections. Today, we present the final part of the project - elections of 2007.

 

Elections to the National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia of the fourth convocation were held on 25 May 2007 (131 parliament members: 90 under proportional and 41 under majority vote system); 23 political forces (22 parties and 1 election bloc) took part in elections under proportional vote system.

 

Unlike 2003 elections, a high voter turnout was recorded in 2007- 59.4%.

 

The most notable fact was the defeat of the opposition's “old guard” - “People's Party of Armenia” headed by Stepan Demirchyan and “National Unification” headed by Artashes Geghamyan, who gained 3.6% and 2.7% of votes correspondingly.

 

Five parties overcame the 5 percent threshold: the Republican Party of Armenia (32.8%), “Prosperous Armenia” Party (14.7%), “Dashnaktsutyun” (12.7%), “Orinats Yerkir” (6.8%) and “Heritage” (5.8%).

 

Five parliamentary factions were created in the National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia of the fourth convocation: Republican Party of Armenia (64 parliament members,) “Prosperous Armenia” (25 parliament members,) “Armenian Revolutionary Federation” Dashnaktsutyun (16 parliament members,) “Orinats Yerkir” (8 parliament members,) “Heritage” (7 parliament members.)

 

Scandals

 

“Spy passions” with the participation of “Orinats Yerkir” Party leader and former parliamentary speaker Artur Baghdasaryan certainly became the main scandal related to elections. On April 21, “Golos Armenii” published an article “At a table in “Marco Polo””, which contained extracts from Artur Baghdasaryan's conversation with an official of the British Embassy (he was not named but later it turned out that he was the Vice Ambassador of Great Britain to Armenia Richard Hyde). During the conversation Artur Baghdasaryan demanded support from the British Embassy and offered to take a tougher stance against Armenian authorities.

 

Photo: PanArmenian Photo

 

Several days later, the Embassy of Great Britain in Armenia issued a statement expressing concern and disappointment over the tapping of conversation of embassy employee with one of the opposition party leaders.

 

During the meeting with the students of the Yerevan State University, Armenian President Robert Kocharyan qualified Artur Baghdasaryan's behavior as “treachery”. “Who has betrayed once will betray again,” said Robert Kocharyan.

 

“Heritage” Party leader Raffi Hovhannisyan: in 2007 many people didn't even know about the existence of “Heritage”

 

“Heritage” Party leader Raffi Hovhannisyan said after the elections that his party had in fact gained not 80 000 but 250 000 votes. He also expressed readiness to cooperate with all political forces of the country, both pro-governmental and opposition ones.

 

Photo: Photolure

 

“We have been deprived of the possibility to appear on TV for many years, and very often when we visited the regions and the villages people didn't even know us, they haven't even heard of “Heritage”. At that time we set the task to inform the people. I believe that we have won a victory in Yerevan. Although it was our first experience, we were among the leaders throughout the whole territory of Armenia. We were a relatively new force and couldn't defend our votes, but we have learned a lesson from that experience.”

 

Media on elections

“Azg” daily:

 

“The most significant peculiarity of this campaign was the fact that it was civilized and calm. If during previous elections the most popular arsenal of the campaign were swearing and cursing of authorities (since the opposition still enjoyed some public confidence and there was still certain trust in opposition leaders), the situation has somewhat changed now. The election campaign proved that the rare opposition forces, whose political agenda was based on abuse, threats and ultimatums, are no longer in demand.”

 

“Golos Armenii”:

 

“The overall assessment of elections: they indeed differed from previous ones in the good sense of the word. The elections became a nice surprise both in terms of better organization of the electoral process and the activity of political parties participating in the election campaign, as well as in terms of voter activity. Surely there was something wrong somewhere, but on the whole the elections were held, the will of the citizens was expressed and no special surprises were observed.”

 

“Haykakan Zhamanak”:

 

“Mostly, the thing is not that the authorities have falsified the election outcome. The thing is that a “perpetual motion machine ” of power reproduction was created through these elections. Our authorities have been earning by robbery for four years, and they are spending that money on their reproduction during the fifth one. By the way, the last case proved that there are groups constantly acting under the patronage of the authorities, which are doing only one thing- improving the mechanisms of falsification of elections.”

 

The debut of “Prosperous Armenia” Party

 

Russian “Nezavisimaya Gazeta” paper wrote about “Prosperous Armenia” Party which took part in elections for the first time and won the second place:

 

Photo: PanArmenian Photo

 

“Despite the fact that the opposition forces that failed the elections, and even “Orinats Yerkir” Party, which has passed to the parliament, refuse to accept the election outcome and are going to argue it in court, the correlation of forces in the newly elected parliament will not change. International observers speak of insignificant violations. The scenario of future developments in the Armenian parliament can be guessed by Robert Kocharyan's behavior. Immediately after the announcement of preliminary results he received multi-profile businessman, the leader of “Prosperous Armenia” Party Gagik Tsarukyan and congratulated him on his successful debut in politics. The party has been formed a little before parliamentary elections and, as the experts claim, it became an effective project of the presidential administration which was concerned with the rapid growth of the power and influence of Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan, the leader of the Republican Party of Armenia. “Prosperous Armenia” is called to equalize the situation in favor of the outgoing President Kocharyan. At the same time, the experts say that taking into consideration huge means spent during the campaign, Tsarukyan could count on a more tangible success. However, the businessman was satisfied with the mandates his party has gained.”

 

David Harutyunyan: The fight was not so fierce in 2007 as today

 

“I think, if we compare 2007 elections with today's ones, we will see a tangible difference first of all in terms of the election campaign. The fight between political forces was not that fierce as today.

 

Photo: PanArmenian Phot

The second difference concerns he election legislation, since there were many questions which had no definite answers at that time.

 

What was the reason for the defeat of the “traditional opposition” at 2007 parliamentary elections? I think it was first of all connected with the rates of the economic development, conditioned by both objective and subjective reasons.”

 

Observers and their assessments

 

It was the first time that OSCE/ODIHR, OSCE PA and Council of Europe observers stated that parliamentary elections in Armenia met international standards and “were held in line with Armenia's international commitments, although there are still some unresolved  issues.”

 

OSCE Special Coordinator to elections in Armenia, Vice President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, Tone Tingsgaard, noted that positive changes were observed as compared to previous parliamentary elections. According to her, the observers have also registered definite shortcomings, particularly slow vote counting.

 

The head of PACE delegation Leo Platvoet also stated that these elections became a breakthrough as compared to previous ones.

 

The observers expressed the hope that “these elections in Armenia will facilitate the restoration of confidence into the electoral process.” According to them, “the election campaign was dynamic and was widely covered by media.”

 

Conclusion

 

The National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia of the fourth convocation began its work on 7 June 2007. Tigran Torosyan was elected the Chairman of the National Assembly, Vahan Hovhannisyan and Ishkhan Zakaryan were elected NA vice chairmen.

 

Later, on 12 November 2007, Arevik Petrosyan replaced Ishkhan Zakaryan, who was appointed Chairman of the Control Chamber of the National Assembly and on 20 May 2008, Hrayr Karapetyan replaced Vahan Hovhannisyan, who submitted his resignation. On 18 May 2009, Samvel Nikoyan replaced Hrayr Karapetyan, who also submitted his resignation.

 

On 29 September 2008, after Tigran Torosyan's resignation, Hovik Abrahamyan was elected National Assembly Chairman. In late 2011, Hovik Abrahamyan was replaced by Samvel Nikoyan.

 

Read about 1995 elections here.

 

Read about 1999 elections here.

 

Read about 2003 elections here.

 

Aram Araratyan

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