Sargisian Certified as Winner of Presidential Vote


Protesters in Yerevan

Protests Continue Led by Raffi Hovannisian

YEREVAN (Combined Sources) — Armenia’s Central Election Commission has officially certified President Serge Sargisian as the winner of the February 18 presidential election.

The commission announced the official election results on February 25.

It said Sargisian was reelected with 58.6 percent of the vote, while former Foreign Minister Raffi Hovannisian came in second with nearly 37 percent.

US Secretary of State John Kerry congratulated Sargisian on the occasion of re-election. “I congratulate you on the occasion of re-election. February 18 presidential elections are an addition to the base of 2012 parliamentary elections and I am glad that press and media ensured balanced coverage of campaign,” Kerry said.

Kerry noted that he agrees with preliminary conclusions of OSCE/ODIHR observation mission, that in general elections were well-organized, with protection of fundamental freedoms. He also noted that there is still some work to be done.

“Moving forward, I hope, that Armenia will continue to increase transparency, encourage pluralism and active participation of citizens in governance and reforms, as well as resolve other issues raised by OSCE,” Kerry said.

He added that he hoped the US and Armenia would cooperate in order to promote democratic and economic reforms.

“I remain committed to support your country, in order to find the peaceful and negotiated settlement of Nagorno-Karabagh conflict, and I ask you to continue to give your full support to the co-chairs of Minsk Group. We cannot be satisfied with maintenance of the status quo. We should find the moment to ensure visible support in peace process. I look forward to working with you, as well as with Armenian nation in order to strengthen bilateral ties and historical friendship,” Kerry said.

Sargisian received other congratulatory messages from foreign leaders, including Polish President Bronisław Komorowski and German President Joachim Gauck.

 

Hovannisian Demonstrates

Hovannisian, who has disputed the results, is expected to hold a news conference after the announcement.

On February 24, about 4,000 supporters of Hovannisian demonstrated in Yerevan to protest the initial vote count.

Some 8,000 Hovannisian supporters protested on February 22 in Yerevan. Smaller protests were held in three other cities on February 23.

On February 26, Hovannisian said the revolution of love and welcome will continue.

“I will take that message of peace to all the regions of Armenia — to Armavir, Metsamor, Etchmiadzin, Masis, Artashat, Ararat, Surenavan, Areni, Yegheknadzor and Vayk. On February 27, escorted by the police in mutual respect to Agarak, Meghri, Kajaran, Kapan, Goris, Sisian.”

He said that a large, authorized demonstration was scheduled for February 28 (after press time). Stops on that day include Charentsavan, Nor Hajin, Abovyan, and then back to Freedom Square.

He boasted that the Armenian Armed Forces would be turned into the most capable in the world and spoke of the sacrifices and tribulations that the Armenian people have experienced.

(RFE/RL, Hetq and Armenpress contributed to this report.)