Armenian Presidential Runner-Up to Rally on Disputed Vote Result

The runner-up in this week’s Armenian presidential election will hold a rally to dispute the results and demand the winner, incumbent Serzh Sargsyan, concedes defeat.

Raffi Hovhannisyan, who garnered 37 percent of the Feb. 18 vote to Sargsyan’s 59 percent, is planning a demonstration today in the capital, Yerevan. He wants the president to recognize the “people’s victory” and start negotiations with him.

Sargsyan is ready to meet Hovhannisyan at any time to clarify his “incomprehensible” statements, his spokesman, Armen Arzumanyan, told the website.

Sargsyan’s victory for a second term solidifies his standing after his Republican Party won a parliamentary ballot last year in the landlocked country that borders Iran and Turkey and fought a war with neighbor Azerbaijan over a disputed region two decades ago. Presidential elections in 2008 triggered bloody scenes as 10 people died amid clashes between opposition protesters and police.

Armenia’s dram, which has lost 4.2 percent against the dollar over the last year, was down 0.1 percent at 406.9501 at 6:15 p.m. in Yerevan, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

While observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe noted an improvement in the vote’s conduct, Hovhannisyan said yesterday that the results don’t “reflect the will of the people.”

Addressing about 2,000 people in Liberty Square in Yerevan, Hovhannisyan, whose Heritage Party won 5.8 percent of votes in parliamentary elections last May, accused the Central Electoral Commission of making a “false calculation.”

In an e-mailed statement today, Heritage said it’s filed reports detailing more than a hundred violations and complained about a recount of ballots initiated without notification.

Hovhannisyan’s official showing was better than expected, according to Alexander Iskandaryan, director of the Caucasus Institute. That support reflects anti-Sargsyan sentiment, he told reporters today.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sara Khojoyan in Moscow at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Balazs Penz at

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