All Quiet on the Southern Caucasus Front

Today is a day of silence regarding the election; no candidate is allowed to campaign. Thankfully, the law doesn’t stop me from updating this blog. I’ve been extremely busy for the past week getting used to my news position from Caucasus Research Resource Center, but as the election is one day away, I need to post something.

Below is a list of some of the major issues of the election.

  • For an overview of all the drama of the election, RFE/RL has a great write up.
  • The police have reported the final voter list of 2,505,980 voters.
  • But, among that list are potentially a million voters who are abroad and unable to vote. The law allows foreign Armenians that work in embassies and in large companies to vote but no one else. It’s understandable that embassy staff can vote abroad, but it’s odd that Armenians working for large companies are allowed to vote. The law is privileging certain Armenians simply because they are financially well situated. No modern democracy should put up financial or position-based restrictions on the right to vote. As the majority of this modern diaspora votes for the opposition, the government is not anxious to change this policy.
  • ANC has stayed resolute in its boycott and is not encouraging its members to vote for any specific candidate.
  • ARF-D has called for voter turnout to ensure empty ballots can’t be reused by the regime. They’re fine with voters doing whatever they like, even ripping up their ballot, just as long as they don’t vote for Sargsyan.
  • Raffi Hovannisian has discussed some of the election violations with OSCE, but during his concluding speech he praised this election saying that no matter what, this is the first de jure presidency.
  • Serzh Sargsyan, during his concluding speech, praised Hovannisian’s “beautiful” campaign style of connecting with the people, shaking hands with locals all over the country.
  • Finally, rumors have come again discussing the grand bargain between Republican Party and Prosperous Armenia Party that kept PAP out of the election: they’re going to get the mayorship of Yerevan.

I’m going to be watching the news carefully tomorrow, but I and many others aren’t expecting too many surprises this election. The more important questions will be the turnout and how small Sargsyan’s margin of victory will be. These factors will dictate how much of a mandate Sargsyan will have leading into his second term.


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