The National Assembly voted earlier in the day to select five of the ten members of the Supreme Council of the Judiciary to oversee the Armenian courts. All elected members of the council have been appointed by the Republican Party of Armenia (HHK). Among them Gaguik Harutiunian, incumbent president of the Constitutional Court, was elected by 96 votes to two, according to Gaguik Melikian, head of a committee of the ad hoc parliament that administered the vote by secret ballot.
Shortly after the announcement of the voting results, Yelk leader Nikol Pashinian denounced a fraud, insisting that he and six other deputies representing Yelk voted against Harutiunian. “I see this as an insignificant chicanery by representatives of the [parliamentary] majority that is directed against Yelk and has far-reaching political goals,” Pachinian accused, demanding a criminal investigation into the alleged fraud.
Gaguik Melikian rejected the accusations, arguing that a protocol on the results of the vote was signed by all members of his commission, including Yelk’s Lena Nazarian. Edward Sharmazanov, a vice-speaker of parliament also affiliated to the HHK, made a similar remark: “I participated in the vote count but I can not be sure that the ballots scored against [Harutiunian] have not been replaced by ballots marked for him, “said Lena Nazarian. She claimed that such fraud may have been committed by another member of the Melikian Commission.
Yelk’s allegations were angrily denied by HHK House Leader Vahram Baghdasarian. “To get 96, 86 or 80 votes would not make any difference to Gaguik Harutiunian or to us,” he said, adding, “Please do not cause problems and disturb our work with useless statements. . “
According to the amended Constitution of Armenia, the main task of the Supreme Council of the Judiciary is to “guarantee the independence of the courts and judges”. The Council will appoint virtually all new judges to be appointed by the Armenian President and the National Assembly. It can also take disciplinary action against judges or put an end to their activity.
The other five members of the Council will be chosen by the judges of the country who have worked for at least ten years.