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

African States Push to Keep Boko Haram Offline

Central African telecoms ministers working with Nigeria to block all videos posted by Boko Haram in effort to blunt Nigerian militant group's propaganda More

Falling Oil Prices, Internet-Savvy Youth Pose Challenge for Gulf Monarchies

Across the Gulf, younger generations are putting a strain on traditional politics More

Philippines Call Center Workers Face Challenges

Country has world’s largest business process outsourcing, or BPO, industry, employing some one-million workers 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.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

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