Photo: Members of the election committee count ballots at a polling station during parliamentary elections in Yerevan. Western observers on Sunday said parliamentary elections in Armenia were the fairest yet in the ex-Soviet state, now set to be run by a coalition of parties close to the current government that swept the vote.(AFP/Karen Minasyan)  

Hailed as the first democratic election in Armenia’s 15-year-old independence after breaking up from the Soviet Union, the results of the parliament votes are in:

5 parties have received the number of votes needed to enter the National Assembly. These are the Republican Party of Armenia, the Prosperous Armenia Party, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation Party, the Country of Legality Party and the Heritage Party.

Cartoon, showing political party slogans saying “we are the best” in several different ways, by Pavel Jangirov from

Although pro-government Republicans and Prosperous Armenia party have led the polls, western observers are saying the elections generally met international standards.

They still say there were isolated instances of double voting and falsification of results, but overall it was an improvement from previous undemocratic elections.


Photo: Armenia’s Prime Minister Serzh Sarksyan listens to a journalist’s question after casting his ballot during a parliamentary election in Yerevan May 12, 2007. REUTERS/David Mdzinarishvili (ARMENIA)

A local, foreign-born Armenian blogger served as an observer of the vote and was shocked by the fact that “Everything went so smoothly, I can’t tell you.”

It was parliamentary elections yesterday, and I got the chance, thanks to the “It’s Your Choice” NGO and Transparency International, to be a full-fledged elections observer! Well, me and lots of other people, including a number of Diasporan-Armenians, but I guess I was a bit over-excited, because, honestly, at the end of the day, I think it’s pretty cool…


Well, it was awfully tiring, but I have to say I was terribly impressed, and felt proud, because, before going in as an observer, I was expecting to see the most khaydarag, utterly ridiculous things as usual, and I was even looking forward to a nice fight with the authorities, but things went so smoothly, it was so clean, so just… I mean, I’ve been hearing reports from elsewhere, and the Lord alone knows what we are to expect in the next few weeks in terms of accusations and rallies, but all I know is, I have not lost my faith in the Armenian people and democracy, as I expected I would.

Meanwhile, it is not too encouraging (at least for me) to see that an oligarch widely known as “stupid” got to the second place with 15.1 percent votes.  It is not impossible that he actually earned the votes, but it kind of shows that the Armenian society is not, how should I say, very different from the rest of the world. I guess if George W. Bush got reelected in America than Dodi Gago could easily get 15.1% in Armenia…

Overall, from my personal conversations to friends and relatives in Armenia I was surprised (in a very nice way) with the high turnout and interest of voters. One cousin, for example, who barely turned 18 went and voted early morning. I don’t care who she voted for, but she still voted! My sister and her husband voted for different political parties, and I felt I lived in utopia when they calmly discussed on the phone why and how they voted for different parties (one opposition; one pro-government) and were not upset with the other’s choice at all. I hope more Armenian women become independent and eventually participate not only in voting, but also in being voted in.

Even my 4 ½-year-old niece was involved in the elections and lobbied, I should note unsuccessfully, her Mom to vote for a particular party that she liked (I am glad she can’t read my blog yet).

I guess we all should be glad that another country in the world is becoming more democratic. Maybe Armenia’s future is much brighter than we think it is.