Armenian presidential candidate Raffi Hovhannisian, who argues that a rigged February 18 presidential election deprived "the people" of "victory" against incumbent President Serzh Sargsyan, has said that he will demand today that the country's Constitutional Court throw out the official election results.
The Court has said that it will consider the appeal in ten days, Aysor.am reported. The March 4 move will open a legal front in Hovhannisian’s battle for the presidency, which, so far, has mostly unfolded in the form of street protests and campaigning. The US-born leader of the tiny opposition Heritage Party ambitiously has described his fight as the “Hello Revolution,” or "Barevolution."
But the chances remain slim that Hovhannisian, a onetime foreign minister, will get a favorable court decision or a critical mass of popular support for greeting his arrival in the presidential residence. His rival Sargsyan has already been welcomed back into the presidents’ club by world leaders such as US President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Sargsyan also commands influence with Armenia’s state institutions and the Constitutional Court is no exception, local commentators say.
Armenia’s handling of the voting process scarcely passed muster with international observers, who noted “implausibly high” support for the incumbent in several precincts, but the election monitors did not say that the irregularities warranted reconsidering the outcome of the national vote. Local observers have dismissed such findings as wide of the mark.
Hovhannisian, however, has on his side a significant number of disenchanted and irked voters, many of whom have been beguiled by the relatively mild-mannered Hovhannisian and his handshaking campaign with ordinary Armenians, and are angered by what they call Sargsyan's ham-handed efforts to force five more years of himself on Armenia. Remembering the bloodshed that occurred the last time Armenia had a disputed presidential vote, Sargsyan tried to come to terms with Hovhannisian, but the talks failed, and Hovhannisian is now looking for allies.
On March 2, he met the satin-shirt-inclined, mega-millionaire leader of the Prosperous Armenia Party, Gagik Tsarukian. Tsarukian has not yet said if he may consider throwing his weight behind the "Barevolution." Meanwhile, Hovhannisian is planning another large rally/ game-plan announcement tomorrow in downtown Yerevan; permission already has been secured for protests through March 25.