2008 presidential election of Armenia
February 19 saw a hotly contested presidential election in Armenia, with a cast of participants whose extensive histories with each other has often been that of conflict. Elections in Armenia are generally rigged, with systematic support for government officials, but usually the government would have won anyway thanks to a sense of inevitability by voters, as well as acceptance of vote buying by many in the electorate. The opposition always promises not to accept official results, and always calls them rigged and organizes rallies. This election held true to form, and like the last post-presidential election protests, led to eventual violence as 9 people died in the suppression of peaceful protests, and a 20 day state of emergency. Ter-Petrosian urged his followers not to break the state of emergency.
There were 9 candidates, though the following are the better known ones who in the end garnered at least a few percent of the vote:
- Serzh Sarkisian (Prime Minister of Armenia at the time of elections, Minister of Defense for many preceding years)
- Levon Ter-Petrosian (Former President from 1991 independence to (forced) resignation in Fall of 1997)
- Artur Baghdasarian (Former Speaker of Parliament until he had to resign)
- Vahan Hovannisian (Deputy speaker of parliament, Head of the ARF in Armenia)
- Vazgen Manukian (Head of the National Democratic Union (AZhM))
Interesting background on the candidates past conflicts
Most of the players conflict centers around Ter Petrosian, the first president of Armenia - who has a very interesting history with virtually every other important candidate.
- Ter-Petrosian elevated Serzh Sarkissian to office in Armenia - who in turn helped force Ter-Petrosian's 1997 resignation over Karabakh negotiations
- Ter-Petrisian banned the ARF and jailed its head Vahan Hovannisian in 1994.
- Ter-Petrosian ran for re-election against Vazgen Manukian in 1996 with widespread election fraud and then brought out tanks and stamped out extended protests by Manukian and his supporters
- Ter-Petrosian made Raffi Hovannisian his first Minister of Foreign Affairs in 19xx, then fired him for mentioning the Armenian Genocide in Istanbul in 1992. Raffi himself has tried twice to run for president, but was not allowed by the government, and ends up endorsing Ter-Petrosian.
- Jan 21 - Candidates kick off Armenian presidential campaign
- Feb 1 - Police Press Charges Against Arrested Ter-Petrosian Allies
- Feb 1 - Vahan Hovannisian laments peoples view of the election as a two-horse race
- Feb 7 - Baghdasarian briefs police on "death threats"
- Feb 8 - Opposition activists "beaten up"
- Feb 8 - Ter-Petrosian demands election delay
- Feb 12 - Raffi Hovannisian endorses Ter-Petrosian
- Feb 12 - Ter-Petrosian meets with Dmitry Medvedev, Russian President Vladimir Putin's hand-picked successor, in Moscow. No details of the meeting are revealed. 
- Feb 13 - Vazgen Manukian angrily refuses bow out of race, blames voters for seeing race as between two candidates.
- Feb 14 - Ter-Petrosian is furious Baghdasaryan does not bow out of race.
- Feb 14 - Aram Karapetian of Nor Zhamanakner (New Times) cannot get registered to enter race, endorses Ter-Petrosian
- Feb 14 - OSCE reports on widespread use of government resources by Serzh Sarkisian's campaign
- Feb 15 - Sarkisian says he expects to win in the first-round
- Feb 17 - Ter-Petrosian warns of "lasting" rallies if authorities falsify vote results of his impending victory
- Feb 19 - ELECTION DAY - widespread reports of vote buying, fraud, beatings of opposition activists/journalists.
- Feb 20 - Serzh declared winner.
- Feb 20 - Ter-Petrosian claims victory, rallies thousands
- Feb 20 - election observers declare election "largely democratic"
- Feb 21 thru March 1 - Ter-Petrosian starts "non-stop" protests
- Feb 22 - Vahan Hovannisian resigns as deputy speaker of parliament, citing poor election showing
- Feb 23 - Kocharian tells military, police to thwart "opposition coup"
- Feb 23 - 4 senior diplomats resign over elections
- Feb 23 - 6 more senior diplomats resign over elections
- Feb 25 - More arrests of Ter-Petrosyan loyalists
- Feb 25 - Council Of Europe envoy praises election, urges authorities not to use force
- Feb 26 - Serzh Sarkisian's calls on Armenians to accept his victory
- Feb 27 - Sarkisian says coalition talks with "constructive" opposition in progress
- Feb 27 - Jailed Ter-Petrosian allies charged
- Feb 28 - Ter-Petrosian appeals for western support
- Feb 28 - Baghdasarian in coalition talks with Sarkisian
- Feb 28 - Armenian KGB admits sending agents to opposition rally to urge violence
- Feb 29 - Artur Baghdasarian agrees to join a new coalition government with Serzh Sarkisian
- Feb 29 - U.S. says Feb 19 vote was "far from perfect", urges end of opposition arrests and non-violence.
- Feb 29 - Ter-Petrosian addressed tens of thousands of supporters who gathered in Yerevan’s Liberty Square for a tenth consecutive day.
- Mar 1 - Opposition rally attacked at 7am
- Mar 1 - A1+ website, hosted in Armenia, taken down
- Mar 1 - other opposition news websites ??? , hosted in Armenia, taken down
- Mar 1 - Radio Liberty jammed in Armenia
- Mar 1 - Ter-Petrosian under house arrest, new rally forms
- Mar 1 - 8 dead in police attack on peaceful demonstrators and ensuing riot
- Mar 1 - Kocharian threatens to call a state of emergency
- Mar 2 - Kocharian declares state of emergency for 20 days
- Mar 2 - OSCE sends envoy to Armenia in bid to end unrest
- Mar 2 - Armenian military warns against more protests
- Mar 2 - YouTube blocked in Armenia
- Mar 3 - Some Armenian-oriented blogs hosted outside of Armenia are blocked in Armenia
- Mar 3 - More Ter-Petrosian allies arrested
- Mar 3 - Dashnaks defend emergency rule
- Mar 4 - Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev says that his country is ready to take back Nagorno-Karabakh by force.
- Mar 4 - Armenian Parliament sanctions arrest of opposition MPs
- Mar 4 - Baghdasarian blames Ter-Petrosian for the political unrest
- Mar 4 - Constitutional Court starts hearings on Ter-Petrosian appeal
- Mar 4 - UN and EU urge end of emergency rule in Armenia
- Mar 4 - Serious fighting reported in northeastern Nagorno-Karabakh, near Martakert, between Azerbaijani and Karabakh Armenian forces. Armenia and Karabakh blame Azerbaijan for instigating the violence, noting Armenia's weakened position. Azerbaijan blames Armenia for starting the fighting in order to create a diversion from its internal political crisis.
- Mar 5 - Kocharian indicates that he will neither shorten nor extend the imposed state of emergency.
- Mar 5 - Ter-Petrosian makes his case for a repeat election before the Constitutional Court.
- Mar 5 - Kocharian criticizes Armenia's state human rights ombudsman, Armen Harutiunian, for questioning the use of lethal force against the opposition.
- Mar 5 - Armenia and Azerbaijan announce their intention to remain loyal to the 1994 cease-fire.