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Armenia's Opposition To Boycott Yerevan Assembly


Opposition leader Levon Ter-Petrossian greets supporters in Yerevan on May 1.

Opposition leader Levon Ter-Petrossian greets supporters in Yerevan on May 1.

The opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK) has vowed to boycott Yerevan's newly elected municipal council and reject dialogue with the authorities after what its leader, Levon Ter-Petrossian, called "the ugliest election in Armenia's history," according to RFE/RL's Armenian Service.

The National Congress party rejected the official results of the May 31 municipal elections as fraudulent as it rallied an estimated 10,000 supporters in downtown Yerevan the following day.

Speaking to supporters at that rally, Ter-Petrossian said the opposition alliance will refuse to fill the 12 or more seats that it was awarded on the city's 65-strong Council of Elders by the Central Election Commission.

He said the opposition will instead continue to fight for a change of leadership in the country.

"Only one thing is progressing in Armenia," said Ter-Petrossian, "[and] that is the mechanism for rigging elections."

Preliminary official vote results released by election officials showed President Serzh Sarkisian's Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) cruising to a landslide victory in the polls with 47.4 percent of the vote. Under Armenian law, that means the HHK's top candidate, Gagik Beglarian, automatically becomes Yerevan's mayor.

The HAK came in a distant third with 17.4 percent of the vote.

Ter-Petrossian claimed that between 100,000 and 150,000 Yerevan residents sold their votes to the HHK. He said vote buying is the only explanation for the ruling party getting more votes in Yerevan than their candidate, Sarkisian, did during last year's disputed presidential election.

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