News / Europe

Exit Poll Says Armenians Re-Elect President Sargsyan

Armenia's President Serzh Sargsyan talks to reporters after casting ballot (Vera Undritz for VOA
Armenia's President Serzh Sargsyan talks to reporters after casting ballot (Vera Undritz for VOA
James Brooke
After the shooting of one presidential candidate and the hunger strike of another, Armenian voters opted for stability on Monday, re-electing President Serzh Sargsyan, according to an authoritative exit poll.

The Gallup exit poll was carried out among 19,130 voters at 122 polling stations across this landlocked former Soviet republic.

The exit poll gave the president 58 percent of the vote, slightly more than the 53 percent won in his first presidential election in 2008. With his election to a second and final five-year term, the ruling Republican Party’s hold on Armenia now will stretch for 18 years.

Voters select continuity

After casting his ballot in Yerevan, Sargsyan praised stability.

"I voted for the future of Armenia, for the security of Armenia, for the security of our citizens," said Sargsyan, who rose to national prominence two decades ago after leading ethnic-Armenian soldiers who rebelled against Azerbaijani rule in the neighboring region of Nagorno Karabakh.

Critics say Armenia’s status quo means average salaries of $75 a week, however, with one third of the population living under the poverty level, and one third of Armenian adults forced to work outside the country.

The opposition vote coalesced around Raffi Hovannisian, an American-born former foreign minister. The exit poll gave him 32 percent of the vote, about double the level predicted in pre-election polls.

Accusations hurled

Despite this apparent surge, Hovannisian’s campaign aides charged the president used fraud to try to boost his turnout over the 50 percent threshold to win on the first round. In meeting with reporters late Monday, the opposition candidate claimed victory in Armenian, Russian and English.

“This victory, this struggle which I claim today belongs to the Armenian people, to the citizens of Armenia,” he said in English.

In contrast, Eduard Sharmazanov, spokesman for the Republican Party and Deputy Speaker of Armenia’s parliament predicted: “These elections will definitely be the best, with a minimal number of abuses reported.”

Sixty percent of registered voters cast ballots, well below the 70-percent level of five years ago. This time, the three largest opposition parties refused to launch presidential candidates. Their supporters said they could not win against an incumbent president using the government machinery to get votes.

Sarkis Agabikyan supervised one voting station in Yerevan. Interviewed near the end of the voting day, he described the turnout as very, very bad.

“I think that there is no interest in these elections,” said Agabikyan, aged 24. “There is only one candidate, Serzh Sargsyan. He is now the president, and there is no united opposition. In my opinion, this is the main reason why people are passive.”

Drama and tumult

During the four-week campaign, one candidate was shot, one went on a hunger strike, one dropped out, and two refused to vote. Despite this bumpy road, voters appeared to show little interest. After the president and his main challengers, none of the other candidates got more than five percent of votes.

"Much of the population has been returning to a degree of apathy and disgust, or discontent with all of the political candidates and parties,” said Richard Giragosian, who directs the Regional Studies Center in Yerevan.

On Tuesday, international observers are to deliver their verdict on the fairness of the vote. Armenia is one of several former republics struggling to adopt democracy 21 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

You May Like

Nigeria Incumbent in Tight Spot as Poll Nears

Muhammadu Buhari is running a strong challenge to Goodluck Jonathan, amid a faltering economy and Boko Haram security worries More

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo tells VOA that despite her fame, life is still a struggle as she waits for government's promise of support to arrive More

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

At least seven different indigenous groups in Ratanakiri depend mainly on forest products for their survival, say they face loss of their land, traditional way of life More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Mehmet
February 19, 2013 4:02 AM
I hope the Armenia people with re-elected president will continue to a flourished country.

by: Hovhannes Asatryan from: Armenia
February 19, 2013 2:17 AM
Providing information about such an event as the President's election you better not only google and find first news about that and share it, but try to find more sources for that. There were never been a Gallup exit poll in Armenia: you better ask Gallup.
This is not professional journalism.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More