ARMENIA
Parliamentary Chamber: Azgayin Joghov

ELECTIONS HELD IN 2003

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Chamber:
  Azgayin Joghov


Dates of elections / renewal (from/to):

  25 May 2003


Purpose of elections:

  Elections were held for all the seats in the National Assembly on the normal expiry of the members' term of office.


Background and outcome of elections:

  On 21 April 2003 official campaigning began for the 25 May 2003 parliamentary elections. The Central Election Commission had previously registered some 1,100 candidates representing 17 parties and four blocs to contest the 75 seats up for allocation under the proportional system. In all, 272 candidates registered to participate in the majority system elections in all 56 constituencies.

The poll came just two months after the presidential elections that had sparked large-scale protests over alleged irregularities and were criticised by international observers. For the parliamentary elections, President Kocharian, who does not belong to any political grouping, counted on support from an array of parties and independents.

There were no major ideological differences between the 17 parties and four blocs contesting the election. The President's supporters focused their campaign on Armenia's economic reforms, aimed at pulling the country out of the poverty that had set in with the post-Soviet economic collapse. The Artarutiun (Justice) opposition bloc, comprising over a dozen parties that had backed defeated presidential candidate Stepan Demirchian, complained that Armenia had not reached a settlement with Azerbaijan on Nagorno-Karabakh, an ethnic Armenian enclave over which there had been a long-running dispute. It further contended that Mr Kocharian's presidency was illegal in the wake of alleged vote-rigging in the presidential contest.

In a joint statement, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which deployed 200 observers to monitor the ballot, and the Council of Europe said that while the 25 May vote was "a marked improvement" over the February-March presidential election it "failed to meet international standards in several key areas". The joint report said "significant problems" during the vote count were reported at 30 per cent of the polling stations with observers on hand. The two organisations attributed the low turnout to "lack of confidence in the electoral process".

According to the final results unveiled by the Central Election Commission (CEC), the Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) headed by incumbent Prime Minister Andranik Markarian obtained a total of 35 seats in the Parliament, as compared with 18 for the pro-presidential Orinats Yerkir (Rule of Law Party), 17 for the Artarutiun opposition bloc, 11 for the Armenian Revolutionary Federation-Dashnaktsutiun (HHD), nine for the opposition National Unity Party and six for the United Labour Party, which also backed the incumbent President.

On 12 June 2003, the deputies elected from the Artarutiun opposition bloc and from the National Unity Party (AMK) boycotted the opening session of the Parliament. The attending deputies voted formally to confirm the nomination of Mr. Artur Baghdasarian, Chairman of the Orinats Yerkir (Rule of Law Party) party as Speaker.

STATISTICS
Round no 1 (25 May 2003): Elections results  
Proportional voting system  
Number of registered electors 2 327 811
Voters 1 188 256 (51 %)
Blank or invalid ballot papers 10 424
Valid votes 1 177 832
Majority voting system  
Number of registered electors 2 327 811
Voters 1 064 474 (45.73%)
Blank or invalid ballot papers 6 926
Valid votes 1 057 548

Round no 1: Distribution of votes. Proportional voting system  
Political Group Votes %
Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) 278 712 23.66
Artarutiun (Justice) Bloc 161 533 13.71
Orinats Yerkir (Rule of Law Party) 148 533 12.98
Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutiun) 134 849 11.45
National Unity Party 104 941 8.91
United Labour Party 66 817 5.67
Round no 1: Distribution of votes. Majority voting system  
Political Group Votes %
Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) 124 950 11.82
Orinats Yerkir (Rule of Law Party) 96 079 9.09
Republic Party 15 298 1.45
Pan-Armenian Worker's Party 13 556 1.28
Non-partisans 694 344 65.66

Round no 1: Distribution of seats  
Political Group Total Proportional Majority
Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) 33 23 10
Artarutiun (Justice) Bloc 14 14 0
Orinats Yerkir (Rule of Law Party) 19 12 7
Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutiun) 11 11 0
National Unity Party 9 9 0
United Labour Party 6 6 0
Republic Party 1 0 1
Pan-Armenian Worker's Party 1 0 1
Non-partisans 37 0 37

Distribution of seats according to sex:  
Men: 125
Women: 6
Percent of women: 4.58


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Copyright 2003 Inter-Parliamentary Union