YEREVAN (ArmeniaNow) — Raffi Hovannisian, the official runner-up in the February 18 presidential election, gathered his supporters in Yerevan’s central Liberty Square late Tuesday afternoon to declare himself the rightful winner of the election, suggesting that the officially declared president-elect, Serge Sargisian, should concede defeat.
Hovannisian, a 53-year-old US-born lawyer who leads the opposition Heritage party, gave Sargisian until 5 p.m. Wednesday to accept “the people’s victory” and start the process of the transition of power to the people. Otherwise, he warned, the incumbent needs to be prepared for Hovannisian and his supporters to take “further steps.”
The opposition candidate did not elaborate on what those steps might be.
According to the preliminary results of the Monday ballot announced by the Central Election Commission earlier on Monday, President Sargisian polled around 59 percent of the vote, while Hovannisian gained the support of close to 37 percent of Armenian voters. Hovannisian, however, stated Tuesday that the election was rigged with “widespread fraud” and that he was the real “elected president.”
“It is clear to everyone that the Armenian people gained an 80 to 20 victory yesterday, it has celebrated and will make a reality our national civil victory. No one will take this victory from our conscience, voice and our constitutional right. It belongs not to Raffi or Serge, or others, but it belongs to the Armenians, to all of our citizens, and let no one, whatever his name or position is, dare take this right away from our people,” said Hovannisian.