Sunday, March 09, 2008

Armenian poll challenge rejected

19 March 2008
BBC News, UK

The constitutional court in Armenia has rejected opposition claims that the presidential election was rigged.

The court accepted opposition claims there were some violations but said this could not call into question the entire poll.

The original announcement that Armenian Prime Minister Serzh Sarkisian had won sparked days of protests.

The government declared a 20-day state of emergency on 1 March as eight protestors died in clashes with police.

Public gatherings have been banned and restrictions placed on the media.

Official election results in Armenia gave Serzh Sarkisian 53% of the vote, and the main opposition candidate Levon Ter-Petrosian 21.5%.

Mr Ter-Petrosian had alleged there was widespread fraud at the poll, but his legal appeal was rejected.

The outgoing President, Robert Kocharian, has warned that the authorities will not tolerate any more mass demonstrations even after the state of emergency is over.

The BBC's Matthew Collin says a small group of female opposition supporters defied the measures on Saturday when they dressed in black and laid flowers where the clashes had taken place, in memory of those who died.

Note: Above are excerpts from the article. The full article appears here. Clarifications and comments by me are contained in {}. Deletions are marked by [...]. The bold emphasis is mine.



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