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Sarkisian Party Reaffirms Election Victory Plans

hhkRFE/RL -- President Serzh Sarkisian’s Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) reaffirmed on Tuesday its intention to win the upcoming parliamentary elections by a landslide and retain control over the parliament.“We want to have a 50-percent-plus-one majority in order to be able to calmly work in the National Assembly,” Razmik Zohrabian, an HHK deputy chairman, told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am).

Zohrabian revealed that the ruling party specifically expects to garner roughly 40 percent of votes to be cast for parties and blocs according to the system of proportional representation.Armenian law reserves 90 of the 131 seats in the National Assembly for that system preferred by the opposition. The remaining seats will be contested in nationwide single-mandate constituencies.

“That is a calculation done by pollsters and us,” Zohrabian said of the 40 percent target. “We don’t want to become a Soviet-style party garnering 99 percent of votes … So we will content ourselves with that 40 percent in addition, of course, to the single-mandate constituencies.”The HHK has fielded candidates in 33 of those 41 constituencies. The vast majority of them are wealthy businesspeople who traditionally and controversially do well in parliamentary elections held on an individual basis.The HHK won 33 percent of the party-list vote and a total of 63 seats in the last parliamentary elections denounced as fraudulent by the Armenian opposition. It has also enjoyed the strong backing of a dozen other nominally independent deputies.

Opposition leaders claim that the ruling party’s intention to tighten its grip on the parliament suggests that the Armenian authorities will try to rig the May 6 elections. The authorities deny that, saying the vote will be the most democratic in the country’s history.

Copyright (c) 2012. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036. Original article: http://goo.gl/oTrR1

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