Armenian Opposition Asks Court To Overturn Pashinian's Election Victory

The opposition bloc Armenia Alliance, led by former President Robert Kocharian, has asked the Constitutional Court to overturn the results of last month's elections, which it lost to acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian's Civil Contract party.

The move comes just hours before a Constitutional Court deadline of 6 p.m. on July 2 for filing objections to the voting results.

Pashinian's party won almost 54 percent of the vote in the June 20 elections last month, with Kocharian's bloc -- which is alleging election fraud, though it has not presented evidence to back up the claim -- trailing at under 22 percent.

The elections were held against the backdrop of already flaring tensions following a months-long political crisis fueled by the defeat of Armenian forces by Azerbaijan in a six-week war last autumn over the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh.

International observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) said the elections were competitive and generally well-managed.

Eoghan Murphy, head of the OSCE/ODIHR election observation mission in Armenia, told RFE/RL last month that violations and incidents witnessed during the elections did not impact the validity of their results.

“It was a competitive election. People could campaign freely. Candidates were able to go and organize events, and they organized events," Murphy said.

Pashinian called the early elections in response to sustained opposition rallies and dissent within the state over his handling of the war, which ended with a Moscow-brokered cease-fire in November.

The fragile peace deal restored Azerbaijan's sovereignty over a part of Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding districts that had been controlled by ethnic Armenian forces since a war in the early 1990s. The defeat stunned Armenians and prompted months of recriminations.

During the election campaign, emotionally charged threats and insults raised concerns of postelection violence, especially in the event of allegations that the result was rigged or otherwise challenged.

With reporting by RFE/RL's Armenian Service and Reuters