Bangkok Post

Govt de­tains Ar­me­nia leader for vote-buy­ing

- Corruption · Crime · European Politics · Politics · Elections · Armenia · Yerevan · Gagik Tsarukyan · Prosperous Armenia · Armenian Revolutionary Federation · Nikol Pashinyan

>>YEREVAN: Ar­me­nian op­po­si­tion leader Gagik Tsarukyan, one of the coun­try’s rich­est busi­ness­men, was put in cus­tody on Fri­day for two months ahead of a trial on charges of vote-buy­ing in 2017 par­lia­men­tary elec­tions.

Mr Tsarukyan, leader of the Pros­per­ous Ar­me­nia party, the sec­ond-big­gest fac­tion in par­lia­ment, de­nied any wrong­do­ing, say­ing the crim­i­nal pros­e­cu­tion against him was po­lit­i­cal.

Par­lia­ment stripped Mr Tsarukyan of his im­mu­nity in June, al­low­ing him to be ar­rested. The Na­tional Se­cu­rity Ser­vice raided his home and in­ter­ro­gated him.

“This is po­lit­i­cally mo­ti­vated. They will an­swer for their de­ci­sion,” Mr Tsarukyan said late on Fri­day as he was go­ing to the Na­tional Se­cu­rity Ser­vice. “In a short time ev­ery­thing will be put in its place.”

His ar­rest was or­dered by the Yerevan Court of Gen­eral Ju­ris­dic­tion over al­le­ga­tions of mis­con­duct sur­round­ing the 2017 elec­tions, which pre­ceded a peace­ful rev­o­lu­tion.

Pros­per­ous Ar­me­nia, the Ar­me­nian Revo­lu­tion­ary Fed­er­a­tion and the new Home­land party led by for­mer na­tional se­cu­rity chief Ar­tur Vanet­syan, said this week they plan a mass protest for Oct 8.

“The hopes of many peo­ple haven’t been ful­filled and the prom­ises weren’t kept for the last two years,” Pros­per­ous Ar­me­nia spokes­woman Iveta Tonoyan told re­porters on Tues­day in par­lia­ment. “There is great pub­lic dis­con­tent with the gov­ern­ment, and to make it heard we will or­gan­ise a protest.”

Mr Tsarukyan has ac­cused Prime Min­is­ter Nikol Pashinyan and his gov­ern­ment of mis­han­dling the econ­omy and fail­ing to fight the Covid-19 pan­demic ef­fec­tively. Mr Pashinyan and his party came to power in May 2018 af­ter a rev­o­lu­tion against cor­rup­tion and crony­ism.

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