Saturday, 8 March 2008

No surprises: Armenia's Constitutional Court rejects election results annulment appeal

Constitutional Court lost the most important chance to restore its reputation, but most importantly, to restore the legitimacy in Armenia. I am not going to go into ‘technical’ details, legal particulars. It is obvious that Constitutional Court’s decision was political one.

After what happened (1 March Yerevan bloodshed), no one really considered the possibility of Court making any independent decision in Armenia’s current circumstances, where ‘state of emergency’ is in place, government crackdown on political decent is in its full force, media is silenced… Add here a ‘chronic disease’ of dependency of Armenian legal system on whoever is in power, and you will get very 'promising' picture.

It is very telling, indeed, that Constitutional Court was making its hearings and announcing the decision being cordoned off by police and army force. What can one expect from such a Court, even if it is Constitutional?

Constitutional Court's decision will not defuse current political crisis in Armenia. Society is as divided as ever, 'president-elect' Serj Sargsyan's legitimacy is as questionable as ever.

My previous posts on this topic give some background and perhaps contain an important clue as to why this happened:

Levon Ter-Petrosyan accepts EU proposal, calls for annulment of election results, and international investigation of 1 March events

Constitutional Court of Armenia started election hearings under the ‘state of emergency’ rules

Levon Ter-Petrosyan: Ruling regime went for violent crackdown of opposition movement in Armenia to prevent Constitutional Court decision over election


Gayane said...

Why is it "obvious" that the decision is a political one? Given all the lies pumped out by both LTP (as well as the authorities), why is it not completely fair to consider that the claims by LTP were 1) not sufficiently substantiated and 2) frivolous?

In terms of 1), I mean the claims of irregularities. After all (not my opinion, just reporting facts), observers from all over reported that the elections were more or less positive (ie not obvious grounds for invalidation). In terms of 2) I mean that the claim that Serj was not eligible to run contradicts both Armenian civil code on who is a state employee as well as common sense from centuries of elections worldwide.

There has been so much disinformation from so many directions that I fail to see what is remarkable about the Constitutional Court ruling against LTP. I don't think it is so "obvious" that it is political, though of course, I don't dismiss the political factor.

I know it is not customary on these blogs for people to weigh in with unaligned views, but I think it is wrong to always view things through highly polarizing glasses as well.

Onnik Krikorian said...

You can't choose to accept the Constitutional Court ruling when it suits you and reject it when it doesn't. It's also somewhat ironic that Ter-Petrossian was counting on the support of at least four people in the CC, including Harutyunyan (his vice-president and prime minister), but didn't get it. We can choose to like or dislike, agree or disagree with the ruling, but I don't think we can dismiss it and carry on regardless. Not if we say we want a rule of law country, anyway. The CC is a more independent body than the courts and some of those there appointed under LTP.

I'd also like to point out that the CC was NOT cordoned off when I passed by it at 6.30pm yesterday. There was one or two soldiers and as many policemen slouching around in one corner eating sunflower seeds.

Sure, there would have been backups hidden behind I'm sure, but it wasn't cordoned off. However, I admit that I haven't passed by it at other times.

Besides, what did you want? Opposition protesters to protest outside or even storm the building to intimidate the court to rule in their favor? Anyway, I ran into some international organization people working in the area of democracy last night.

The ruling had been passed 15 minutes before. One said that he suspects that there might be a deal being negotiated by Ter-Petrossian and Sargsyan now. Let's see if Ter-Petrossian's rhetoric gradually becomes more passive over the next 2 weeks to ease tensions.