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    Armenian opposition says referendum falsified by authorities

    Many representatives of political parties and groups involved in “No” front leveled harsh criticism at government

    Baku. 7 December. REPORT.AZ/ The forces opposed to the constitutional amendments believe that the Sunday referendum in which a majority of citizens, according to the election body, backed the controversial reform, was completely rigged by the authorities. 

    Report informs referring to the Armenian media, after the end of the ballot late on December 6 for changes envisaging Armenia’s switch to a parliamentary republic, many representatives of the political parties and groups involved in the “No” front leveled harsh criticism at the government, accusing it of falsifying another electoral process in the country.
    Levon Zurabyan, deputy head of the Armenian National Congress (ANC) and coordinator of the “No” headquarters, claimed that up to half a million votes had been fraudulently registered in favor of the amendments in a massive vote-rigging scheme.
    “The most paradoxical thing is that despite all these machinations, despite all that scale of rigging, what we were saying and trying to convince our people did happen. In other words, if 95 percent of the people participate in the voting and massively say “no”, no election frauds can work against it,” said Zurabyan after the publication of the constitutional referendum results.
    According to official preliminary data, more than 63 percent of voters supported the changes, while more than 32 percent were against the government’s reforms.
    “There is undeniable evidence that voting rights of people were violated, and the exercise of electoral rights was impeded and the offenders must be held responsible for these violations,” the ANC’s Zurabyan said.
    Throughout the day on Sunday when the voting was in progress, opposition parties and local observers reported violations and irregularities, including ballot-box stuffing, open ballots, multiple voting attempts, vote-buying, as well as obstruction to the work of opposition commission members, observers, and media., but Central Electoral Commission officials and the Police acknowledged only an insignificant portion of the reports. The law-enforcement agencies said they will pursue a number of cases based on filed applications and media reports.
    Commenting on assessments from the government camp that the results of the referendum constituted a step forward, Zurabyan said that there had been the exact opposite thing. “Not even a step back, but three steps back,” he said.

    The other group opposed to the changes, New Armenia Public Salvation Front, also did not accept the referendum outcome. It continued its protests in Yerevan’s Liberty Square.
    The “No” front is also expected to hold a rally in the square tonight to call for the invalidation of the results of the referendum.

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