Today, December 9, Armenians across the country will head to the polls to vote in the first parliamentary elections post-revolution.
According to the Central Electoral Commission, there are 2,573,579 eligible voters in the Republic of Armenia and 2000 electoral precincts throughout the country. Of those precincts, 1502 will have live streaming during the vote and after polls close.
Eleven political parties and coalition of parties are running for parliament.
7:00 p.m.: Vigen Sargsyan, the number one slot in the Republican Party of Armenia’s proportional party list for the snap parliamentary elections made the following statement on his Facebook page:
The snap parliamentary elections, the results of which will formulate the 7th convocation of Armenia’s National Assembly, have ended. These elections were democratic in form but not in essence. They were organized in an atmosphere of intolerance towards alternative thinking, pressure and prejudice and an unprecedented abuse of administrative resources were utilized against candidates and their supporters and local self governance bodies. One of the main goals of transitioning into a parliamentary system was to create the opportunity for different, even opposite opinions to coexist. Therefore, it is regrettable that the campaign created deep segregating divides.
We wish success to the forces entering parliament and to the government they will be forming because the security of the country and the nation and the prospects of development depend on this. The concerns we voiced during the campaign were not propagandistic in nature but expressed our deep disagreement with external, security, defence policies, with socioeconomic tendencies, the disintegration of national values and most importantly, the voiced views and manifest first steps taken in regards to the Artsakh issue. We will continue our work in regards to these issues as an extra-parliamentary force.
This domestic heated political competition should not encourage the enemies of Armenia and Artsakh. Despite disagreements during inter-party struggles, the Republican Party remains committed to being a part of the resolution of the problems facing the nation and will continue to stand firm next to our triumphant Armed Forces.
And in conclusion, we thank all our supporters. You trusted and voted for us when the circumstances were difficult. Of course the conclusive results of the official numbers of the elections do not express the results we were fighting for. Be assured that we will do everything in our power to make sure that the noise of populism does not override your voice and issues concerning you will continue to be included in the country’s political agenda.
God protect our country and nation,
RPA Election Campaign Headquarters
5:15 p.m.: The Armenian Revolutionary Federation issued a statement today regarding the results of the parliamentary elections. The party was not able to meet the 5 percent minimum threshold to secure a place in parliament. They received 3.89 percent of the vote. Below is a translation of that statement:
As a result of the Snap Parliamentary Elections, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation will not be presented in the National Assembly.
This is a defeat but it is not the defeat of our voters.
In this defeat we understood the following:
1. People voted for the individual and not ideology.
2. An impressively large segment of voters are concentrated on the image of the “internal enemy” and are astoundingly indifferent regarding external and internal dangers.
3. Today, the stance of the ARF is understood only by a minority.
4. The Artsakh factor is not properly emphasized on the political agenda.
5. A National Assembly with no clear ideological and national features has been formed.
The short campaign period was important in:
Giving us a realistic idea of the army of supporters that will be a part of our fight. Its numbers are small but realistic and its decisions are clear, guided by inner conviction, beliefs and a clear understanding.
Giving us the opportunity to debate, voice our concerns, counteract dangerous trends, bring our arguments to the table. For the time being, our words have not been widely perceived and have been underestimated but we have succeeded in shining a light on the situation from a perspective that has been ignored, to create an opportunity to think and analyze and spur vigilance. Over the course of time, our citizens, who are concerned about the fate of their homeland and who properly understand the importance of the Artsakh issue, will compare developments that will be received daily with the concerns we voiced and will understand what we were talking about.
We turn the page on this stage of history and we enter a new one with an unshakable pan-Armenian structure, our dreams for the future and resolve to fight.
4:45 p.m.: Suren Sahakyan of the Citizen’s Decision Social Democratic Party said the following regarding the election results:
“I want to thank everyone for their vote and trust that was given to us, to my party and me. When I say thank you I mean all the love, sincerity, tenderness that I can express. Irrespective of the results, I have felt your unbelievable energy on the streets, on social networks through letters and something which at this moment, I want to transfer back to all of you. It will be hard to overestimate the value of every vote given to us. We will have many votes in the future, but what we witnessed yesterday is unbelievably touching.
I want to say a couple of words about the team that I worked with. We will publish our results and you will see how limited our resources were and how fantastic the achievements are.
I want to congratulate my friends who became members of parliament. I want to congratulate all of us because we will not have Republicans in parliament in the coming five years and they will not poison our lives. Before and during the revolution and now, my problem is not with the people, but the values that this force introduced and nourished in our society. It is disappointing, but this system of values is still in our society. What we have to do is destroy this political mentality.
We are here, with the same strength, principles and full of the same steadfast faith in achieving an ideal Armenia. We will meet again in the very near future."
4:15 p.m.: The leader of the Bright Armenia Party, Edmon Marukyan and several other party members held a press conference to talk about the results of the snap parliamentary elections. Bright Armenia was able to secure 6.37 percent of the vote, coming in second place following the Prosperous Armenia Party, led by business tycoon Gagik Tsarukyan.
During the press conference, Marukyan said that his party acknowledges the validity of the elections and thanked all those who placed their trust in the Bright Armenia Party. “We consider this to be the evaluation of our active endeavors over the past three years and the unconditional demand of the public to build a truly liberal state based on the European model.” He went on to say that with the December 9 elections, the revolution has come to an end and the country is moving to a new stage of systemic, institutional reforms where the parliament needs a power that has conceptual approaches and can serve as a counterbalance.
He went on to say: “Politics and business are not separated in New Armenia. And we all know that this force [referring to Prosperous Armenia] will not be a real opposition. I state that only Bright Armenia has the resources to be an opposition in parliament. Of course, there will be some political forces outside of parliament and this is natural. Huge resources were invested and an enormous amount of propaganda played against us. Naturally, all of this had its impact. But we have what we have and I am sure that if the provision of government on segregating business and politics would have been realized during these last six months, Bright Armenia would now be the second force in parliament. There is no doubt for this and this is the only reason why we are not the second force now.”
4:00 p.m.: Different political forces are weighing in on the results of the snap parliamentary elections that saw a landslide victory for the My Step Alliance led by acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan.
Spokesperson for the Republican Party of Armenia Eduard Sharmazanov, addressed citizens during a Facebook live this afternoon. As a reminder, the RPA had effectively been ruling the country for the last two decades. The party was not able to cross the 5 percent minimum threshold to get into parliament; they received only 4.7 percent of the vote:
The following is a translation of a portion of Sharmazanov’s statement:
“These elections were unprecedented, because the ruling regime did its best to spread hate and fear. Almost 60,000 citizens gave us their vote and were not afraid to do it. I thank them all. I want to say that December 9 is the day of re-birth for our party, because you said no to drawing lines of division within our country, you said no to division of people into white and black. You, 60,000 citizens, give us wings to continue to fight for Armenia that is free of hate, where the head of government does not divide people into good and bad. Our fight has just begun. It is now the second stage of our fight. Despite some of the people who will rule now, you proved that the nationalistic force is more important. Me and my friends do not have the right to not fight, not to consider your concerns. We need to unite and re-start the fight for our party. Those who said we will not get any votes, today we see there are 60,000 free citizens ready to fight. I say thank you to you and your families who voted for us. Believe me the fight will continue because we will not disappoint you. We will continue to fight as an extra-parliamentary opposition. This is our victory that we proved once more. There are concerned citizens and God help all your families. I wish you love and tolerance. Special thanks to my friends in Lori who, without fear, voted for us, for my friends. Hayk won and Bell was defeated. We start the second round of our fight today."
7:30 a.m.: The count has concluded in all 2010 polling stations across Armenia. According to the Central Electoral Commission, the results of the December 9, 2018, parliamentary elections are as follows:
My Step Alliance - 70.43%
Prosperous Armenia Party - 8.27%
Bright Armenia Party - 6.37%
Republican Party of Armenia - 4.70%
Armenian Revolutionary Federation - 3.89%
Menq Alliance - 2.00%
Sasna Tsrer Party - 1.82%
Country of Law Party - 0.99%
Citizen's Decision Social Democrat Party - 0.68%
Christian-Democrat Rebirth Party - 0. 51%
National Progress Party - 0.33%
In order to secure seats in parliament, political parties will have to pass a minimum five percent threshold and blocs will require a minimum seven percent threshold.
3:04 a.m.: Numbers are holding steady. According to the Central Electoral Commission, the count has concluded in 1078 polling stations. This is how the numbers look:
My Step Alliance - 70.23%
Prosperous Armenia - 8.30%
Bright Armenia - 6.45%
Republican Party of Armenia - 4.38%
ARF - 4.27%
2:06 a.m.: According to the Central Electoral Commission, the count has concluded in 783 polling stations. This is how the numbers look:
My Step Alliance - 70.28%
Prosperous Armenia - 8.36%
Bright Armenia - 6.52%
ARF - 4.39%
Republican Party of Armenia - 4.19%
1:45 a.m.: Acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan gave a press conference a few minutes ago. Below is the translation:
It is clear that the citizens of Armenia are forming a parliament made up of a majority of revolutionaries. What pertains to the course of the elections, I think we all saw that there were no major incidents during the election, not unlike the Yerevan municipal elections.
Since 1991, everyone who has been a citizen of the Republic of Armenia has been included in the electoral list. And if we are monitoring the election, let us talk about the previous ones as well. In this case, you see that citizens went to the polls of their own will. People see that everyone around them is voting for the My Step Alliance and therefore they decided to go about their business since the choice has been made.
I think the Republican Party of Armenia will today register the index that they would have had in the previous elections had there been free and fair elections. What we have been saying for the last 10-15 years, proved to be true today.
The most important resource there is today is the activity of the citizen, the freedom of the press and the fairness of the elections. I want to register that the citizens of Armenia have given a mandate of trust to continue with the fight against corruption, and we will be putting in serious work towards strengthening democratic institutions.
Changing the Electoral Code is still on our agenda, we already have the package of amendments but most importantly we need to have new electoral lists, to precisely know how many voters there are in Armenia at the given moment. We know for sure that there are not 2.6 million voters in Armenia, that is for sure. It is one thing to be on the voters’ list, something else to be in Armenia. We know that there are more than 150 thousand voters who are over the age of 75, polling stations are not accessible to people with disabilities… but we have seen it before when they used to bring voters in on stretchers. This time around, citizens voted or did not even vote of their own free will.
The rating system is problematic, as you know the amendments to the Electoral Code we had put forward had eliminated the rating system.
The revolution is not over, the first stage has been concluded. The revolution will not be finished until it realizes all its goals - to make Armenia an economically developed country, a strong member of the international political family, etc.
I think Armenia is becoming stronger with every passing day, in the sense of economy, international relations, democracy and rule of law and as long as this process is ongoing and our government and team is still able to advance Armenia, I think we will have a mandate. If we waste the opportunity to make Armenia stronger, I think the people will give that mandate to some other political group.
It was possible to spend less or even more on the campaign. As far as I know we have spent much less on the campaign than the allowed maximum. The expenditure we have declared corresponds to the reality, while that is not the case with the Republican Party.
1:30 a.m.: With 553 polling stations final counts in, the preliminary results are as follows: My Step Alliance - 70.9%
Prosperous Armenia - 8.82 %
Bright Armenia - 6.21%
ARF - 4.95%
Republican Party of Armenia - 3.92%
10:30 p.m.: Some preliminary results are being announced, but the count in the majority of the polling stations is continuing. EVN Report spoke with Eduard Aghajanyan of the My Step Alliance about the process of the vote on Election Day.
9:30 p.m.: The votes are being counted in 2000 polling stations across the country. EVN Report's editors will be going live on Facebook throughout the evening, speaking with representatives from a number of political forces who took part in these snap parliamentary elections. To watch the first live, follow this link:
9:00 p.m.: According to the Central Electoral Commission a total of 1,260,840 eligible voters or 48.63 percent had cast their ballot once polls closed at 8 p.m. The highest voter turnout was in Yerevan at 60.6 percent, followed by Vayots Dzor at 55.9 percent and Tavush at 53 percent. During the 2017 parliamentary elections, total voter turnout was 60.86 percent.
8:00 p.m.: Polls have now closed in Armenia and the process of counting the vote will begin.
7:30 p.m.: As of 6 p.m. local time, the General Prosecutor’s office has registered 12 electoral violations that can be considered criminal offences. The violations happened in Yerevan, Syunik, Vayots Dzor, Armavir, and Ararat regions. Ten of the cases are for multiple voting, one for violation of vote secrecy, and one for obstructing the free will of the voter.
The Human Rights Defender’s Office has received 59 cases of electoral violations. Most of the issues are related to the accessibility of polling stations as well as cases when the rights of people with disabilities and those whose names were not included in the voters’ lists have been violated.
6:00 p.m.: According to Armenia's Central Electoral Commission, as of 5 p.m. today, 1,025,002 people have voted (out of a total number of 2,592,479 eligible voters) or 39.54 percent. Voter turnout in the capital was 38.4 percent.
5:00 p.m.: According to Hetq, a number of OSCE/ODIHR observers, visiting over ten polling stations highlighted that the main problem they have seen is observers and proxies leading voters or helping them to vote. They said that they have observed more active voting in the afternoon compared to the early morning hours.
4:40 p.m.: The Human Rights Defender of Armenia summarized the number of calls and cases they have registered as of 3 p.m. local time. They received 37 calls, mostly concerning the accessibility of polling stations, etc. Other than these, the staff of HRD investigated around 500 posts on social media on various concerns and violations connected with the snap elections. All the gathered information is being analyzed and followed up.
4:30 p.m.: Transparency International's the Witness (Akanates) Observation Mission in Armenia has released the following infographics.
3:40 p.m.: Armenia's first President Levon Ter Petrosyan cast his vote at 9/19 polling station. He told reporters that he voted "in the name of peace."
3:30 p.m.: Suren Sahakyan of the Citizen's Decision Social Democratic Party cast his vote at 6/17 polling station. He said, "I voted for the Armenia that we were dreaming about during the days of the Revolution."
3:20 p.m.: Levon Shirinyan of the Christian Democrat Rebirth Party has voted in the 2/46 polling station. While talking to reporters, he noted that their campaign was successful and he thinks that they will be an influential center right leaning political power in the parliament.
3:00 p.m.: According to Armenia's Central Electoral Commission, as of 2 p.m. today, 636,055 people have voted (out of a total number of 2,592,479 eligible voters) or 24.53 percent. During the 2017 parliamentary elections, at the same time, 33.46 percent of voters had already cast their ballot.
2:55 p.m.: Earlier today, Arpine Hovhannisyan, number 2 on the Republican Party of Armenia’s proportional party list and Deputy Speaker of Parliament said that all the kinds of violations that were typical of previous elections are present during today’s election. Hovhannisyan also said that the election is not a reflection of the real situation.
2:45 p.m.: Voting continues across Armenia. In about 15 minutes, the Central Electoral Commission will hold another press conference.
1:45 p.m.: Former Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan, who resigned from office on April 23 during the height of the Velvet Revolution has cast his vote. Sargsyan was accompanied by his wife.
1:40 p.m.: Acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, in a Facebook live addressed the people and encouraged everyone to go and take part in the parliamentary elections.
1:30 p.m.: Acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan spoke to reporters after he cast his ballot in polling station 8/16 in the Shengavit District of Yerevan. He said that he believes “we have already reached our general goal and this is free, transparent and democratic elections.” Pashinyan went on to say that the general goal for the future is to institutionally strengthen democracy in Armenia.
Pashinyan also spoke about former President Robert Kocharyan’s case insisting that the judiciary has never received any orders including regarding Kocharyan’s case. Pashinyan said, "I can officially announce that Armenia’s judiciary has never been more independent than it is now.” Pashinyan also pointed out that Kocharyan’s recent detention (days before the election) is in no way related to the elections and noted that the former president’s case was launched five months ago and it is a separate investigation.
1:00 p.m.: Acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has cast his ballot in the Shengavit district of Yerevan. In the meantime, the General Prosecutor’s Office is checking reports about voter bribes being distributed in the Charbakh district of Yerevan. Earlier, a number of calls were placed to the police saying that in one of the buildings close to N.115 School, bribes were distributed.
12:15 p.m.: Armenia’s Central Electoral Commission (CEC) held its first press conference at noon about the process of the vote. (The CEC will hold press conferences every three hours). Summing up the voter turnout as of 11 a.m. the Central Electoral Commission announced that 7.76 percent have already gone to the polls to vote. Out of the
2,592,479 voters, 201,250 voters have already cast their ballot. In comparison to the parliamentary elections of 2017, at the same time period 13.32 percent of eligible voters had cast their ballot.
12:12 p.m.: Edmon Marukyan of the Bright Armenia Party has voted in Yerevan. Speaking to reporters he said, “If the remnants of of previous regime try to do something they will all be punished. We have a lot of things to do, it’s all in the hands of citizens to make the decision. Nothing will be left, everything will be solved. We have calls from different regions, particularly about some people being accompanied to polling stations and we know that the police is working intensely.” Marukyan also said that the Prosperous Armenia Party tried to recruit him in their proportional list. “I stayed independent, until the moment when Bright Armenia was established. People did not forget what I have done for the country and for them,” he said adding that everyone must go to vote.
12:00 p.m.: It is expected that the Central Electoral Commission will shortly announce the number of people who have voted as of 11 a.m. Earlier Acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan wrote on his Facebook page: “Regardless of rain, snow and the lack of "voter pickup buses," everyone must go to the polling stations.”
11:50 a.m.: Armen Rustamyan of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation has also cast his ballot. He said that election polls in the past never corresponded to reality. “What these numbers show now [that ARF has no chance of getting into Parliament] are ridiculous. Our impression is quite the contrary. Our action plan is clear, we have said that the ARF is a pan-Armenian structure and its future existence is in no way dependant on any elections.” He also said that the party has a very clear program regarding the future of Armenia and the party will pursue the realization of these plans. “We have announced that we will never again be a part of any coalition where the ARF does not have a decisive voice.That was the issue previously, they adopted our programs but did not implement them properly,” he said.
11:45 a.m.: Daniel Ioannisyan of the Union of Informed Citizens, who have approximately 40 mobile observation units reported on a number of issues related with voting: cameras directed in the wrong direction in some polling stations, some voters coming in groups in taxis, which may cause certain suspicions. The mobile groups are monitoring the taxis. Ioannisyan says he told the head of the local election committee to pay attention to this. Groupings of voters in certain locations may also be caused by the fact that there are two polls in one hall. From Abovyan, they received a call saying some of the electronic equipment to register voters are not working, there has been a call from Abovyan saying one big marshrutka (minivan public transport) brought voters to the poll. But he noted that people are actively coming to vote. He also noted that some of heads of electoral commissions do not have sufficient knowledge of election legislation. As of 11:45 a.m, Ioannisyan confirmed there are organized groupings of people coming to vote.
11:40 p.m.: Catholicos of All Armenians Karekin II has voted at polling station 14/11. He was accompanied by priests of the Holy See of Mother Etchmiadzin. After voting he noted: “We voted with prayers for our country’s stability, peace and prosperity so our nation will live in safety, love and unity. God bless our country and the Armenian nation.
11:20 a.m.: Gagik Tsarukyan, leader of the Prosperous Armenia Party (PAP) has voted at 29/29 polling station. While responding to reporters question about former President Robert Kocharyan’s arrest, he stressed that the investigation is not over and his lawyers have applied to the ECtHR. By bringing the example of U.S. President Donald Trump, he noted that today businessmen are successful politicians. Candidates of the Prosperous Armenia Party have expressed hope that they will be the second power in the Parliament.
Aram Sargsyan (Republic Party), leader of the Menq Alliance also cast his vote in the Ararat marz.
11:15 a.m.: After casting his vote, Armenia’s President Armen Sargsyan congratulated all the citizens of Armenia on this important day. He also said that today citizens of the Republic of Armenia have to express their power and choose the future for their families. Sargsyan expressed hope that citizens will celebrate the day by going to precincts and casting their vote freely and independently.
11:10 a.m.: Lusine Haroyan, the head of the National Progress Party has voted at polling station 9/36. Speaking to reporters she said that she voted for new Armenia, and hopes that the country will finally have a parliament where politicians truly care about the country.
11:05 a.m.: Artur Vanetsyan, head of the National Security Service cast his ballot in Yerevan. He told reporters that this will be the most fair elections in Armenia. He also said that they have not received any significant reports of violations. He went on to note that at this moment, everything is calm but “if we receive any reports, then we and the police forces will immediately respond.”
11:00 a.m.: There are eight foreign observation missions with a total of 505 observers and 17,813 local observers, representing 22 local organizations who are now observing the vote in Armenia.
As a reminder, according to RA law, if anyone tries to give a bribe to a voter and if anyone receives a bribe, the following measures will be implemented:
In case of receiving/accepting a bribe, the person in question will be fined anywhere from 500 - 700 thousand AMD or 1-3 years imprisonment.
In case of giving or suggesting a bribe, the person in question will be fined anywhere from 2.5 - 3 million AMD or 2-6 years imprisonment.
Multiple voting or voting in place of someone else will lead to 2-6 years imprisonment.
Any attempt at falsifying the results of the vote in any manner (including also the falsification of results for majoritarian candidates) will result in 3-8 years imprisonment.
10:51 a.m.: By following www.electionsonline.am, you can type in the electoral precinct you wish to follow live. Screenshot below.
10:30 a.m.: Artur Baghdasaryan of the Country of Law Party (OEK) has also cast his ballot today in Yerevan. He said that he is convinced his party will be able to pass the 5 percent threshold and enter parliament. He said, “I voted for the development of Armenia, for the creation of jobs, to resolve the domestic and foreign challenges before Armenia.”
10:17 a.m.: After he cast his ballot in electoral precinct 9/47 in Yerevan, Vigen Sargsyan of the RPA spoke to reporters. He said that he hoped for a high turnout and a high rate of participation because “I think it is very important at this moment and I very much hope that we can come out of these elections with a more consolidated society, with more people really feeling strong about the government they formed and about the future of this country.” Regarding the RPAs position, Sargsyan said, “I very much hope that we can come out of these elections with a feeling of achieved results from this campaign.”
Speaking to reporters, Varuzhan Avetisyan of Sasna Tsrer said: “I will not comment on who said what [during the campaign], it is irrelevant. The people will speak today and that is what is important. We are living in transitional times, the equality we would have liked to have seen could naturally not have been but this election is an intermediate step that will lead us to free, fair, equal and transparent elections. We have freedom now but the rest we will procure together.”
10:10 a.m.: Varuzhan Avetisyan of Sasna Tsrer Party is in the Erebuni district of Yerevan voting; Vigen Sargsyan of the RPA is making his way to the precinct to vote with his family. Screenshot from Azatutyun TV.
10:00 a.m.: Polls have been open now for two hours. Several precincts reporting active participation by citizens. Vigen Sargsyan of the Republican Party of Armenia (RPA) and Varuzhan Avetisyan of the Sasna Tsrer Party will be casting their ballots shortly. It is expected that Edmond Marukyan of the Bright Armenia Party will vote at noon and Acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan will vote at 1 p.m. local time.
9:00 a.m.: Voting at polling station 22/26 was temporarily suspended when it emerged that the number four ballot (My Step Alliance) was missing, reports the “Armenian Times.” In polling station 26/14, it was reported that the cameras are not working.
8:40 a.m.: Armenia's Chief of Police Vladimir Osipyan votes in 10/54 Electoral Precinct in Yerevan. He told reporters that he voted in the name of Armenia. He said all preventative measures have been carried out by the police to ensure a clean and fair election.
8:00 a.m.: Polls in Armenia open. All those citizens born in 1999 and who will be casting their vote, will receive a button that reads, "I have voted for the first time."