2005-06-23 – Yerevan Dashnaks Downplay Disappointment In N-K Balloting

by on 2005/06/23  •  In Wikileaks

Viewing cable 05YEREVAN1097, YEREVAN DASHNAKS DOWNPLAY DISAPPOINTMENT IN N-K

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
05YEREVAN1097 2005-06-23 12:28 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Yerevan
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 YEREVAN 001097 

SIPDIS 

DEPARTMENT FOR EUR/CACEN, EUR/SNEC, DRL 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/21/2015 
TAGS: PREL PGOV AM
SUBJECT: YEREVAN DASHNAKS DOWNPLAY DISAPPOINTMENT IN N-K 
BALLOTING 

REF: YEREVAN 1054 

Classified By: DCM A.F. Godfrey for reasons 1.4(b,d). 

------- 
SUMMARY 
------- 

1. (C) Local representatives of the Armenian Revolutionary 
Federation (ARF - "Dashnaksutyun") have been downplaying the 
results of the June 19 balloting in Nagorno-Karabakh in which 
their ARF/Movement 88 alliance (who many predicted would fare 
best in the election - reftel) won only three seats in the 
local "parliament."  While awaiting the final results from 
the Central Election Commission, journalists and observers 
praised the balloting to the Armenian press as generally fair 
and transparent,  Stepanakert-based ARF representatives, 
however, are reportedly compiling a list of purported 
violations and the use of "administrative resources" by 
government officials to unfairly skew the election results in 
favor of the ruling parties (who captured approximately 64 
percent of the votes cast).  Despite early threats that they 
might decline their three seats in protest, ARF 
representatives told us -- through their local counterparts 
-- that they would not publicly protest the elections as it 
might "unnecessarily threaten N-K security."  End Summary. 

--------------------------------------------- -------- 
YEREVAN DASHNAKS DISTANCE THEMSELVES FROM N-K RESULTS 
--------------------------------------------- -------- 

2. (C) Local representatives of the Armenian Revolutionary 
Federation (ARF - "Dashnaksutyun") have been downplaying the 
results of the June 19 balloting in Nagorno-Karabakh in which 
their ARF-Movement 88 alliance won only three seats in the 
parliament.  A preliminary report published by the Central 
Election Commission stated that the ARF/Movement 88 coalition 
took 24.4 percent of the proportional vote.  Giro Manoyan, 
Director of the ARF International Bureau, contradicted 
earlier statements and went to great lengths to portray the 
Armenia and N-K arms of the organizations as "unrelated" in 
terms of levels of popular support.  He told us on June 22 
that the balloting in Nagorno-Karabakh had "no bearing on the 
ARF's political standing in Armenia."  ARF leaders made 
similar comments during press conferences on June 20 and 21 
and steered clear of discussion of the purported electoral 
violations that N-K ARF leaders cited earlier over the 
weekend. 

----------------------------------------- 
OBSERVERS GIVE "ELECTION" A PASSING GRADE 
----------------------------------------- 

3. (C) Local NGOs and Diaspora-based organizations have 
reported to us that observers of the June 19 balloting called 
it transparent and well organized.  Local press cited 
comments by the British Helsinki Association, Russian State 
Duma and Public International Law and Policy Group that the 
balloting was orderly and that access to monitors and press 
exceeded their expectations.  Some estimates put the voter 
turnout as high as 78 percent of eligible N-K voters. 

4. (C) Louis Sell (a former U.S. Foreign Service Officer) was 
among those who praised the election as "very correct."  He 
reportedly told some of our contacts in Yerevan that N-K 
"President" Ghukassian had used rhetoric in advance of 
election day that many considered "playing the national 
security card" in favor of the ruling authorities.  N-K 
"Foreign Minister" Melkonian reportedly learned of this 
perception, engaged foreign observers on their concerns and 
arranged for a follow-up meeting with Ghukassian during which 
he explained his comments to the observers. 

--------------------------------------------- -------- 
CLAIMS OF VIOLATIONS, USE OF ADMINISTRATIVE RESOURCES 
--------------------------------------------- -------- 

5. (SBU) ARF groups in Stepanakert made claims to 
Yerevan-based press that "N-K authorities had used 
administrative resources to skew the results in their favor." 
 The ARF's spokesperson told reporters that they were 
compiling a list of violations.  Immediately following the 
CEC's release of the preliminary results, the ARF/Movement 88 
said it would not stage public protests regarding the 
balloting (saying it would unnecessarily "threaten N-K 
security") but might instead decline their three seats in the 
"parliament" as a sign of protest.  Beyond the initial 
announcement, however, there has been little mention of any 
such action from either part of the coalition. 

--------------------------------------------- 
COMMENT:  EARLY INDICATOR OF DASHNAK DECLINE? 
--------------------------------------------- 
6. (C) While Yerevan Dashnaks take measures to distance 
themselves publicly from the ARF's defeat in N-K's 
"election," the results came as a surprise to local GOAM 
politicos and Embassies -- including us -- who predicted the 
Dashnaks would flex their political muscle in N-K as a 
precursor to national elections in Armenia in 2007 and 2008. 
National Assembly Deputy Speaker Vahan Hovanissian, the most 
likely ARF candidate for the next presidential bid in 
Armenia, will likely continue to burnish his image in 
national politics over the next 12 months and emphasize the 
ARF's image as a member of the ruling coalition in Yerevan. 
The June 19 balloting in N-K, however, suggests he will now 
have to battle the perception that the ARF's reach may be 
waning at the ballot box. 
EVANS

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