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

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

Ali Regained Title in Historic Fight 40 Years Ago

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license 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.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid