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

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing 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: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportionali
X
Aru Pande
December 19, 2014 1:45 AM
The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportional

The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid