1998 Armenian presidential election

Presidential elections were held in Armenia on 16 March 1998, with a second round on 30 March.[1] The result was a victory for independent candidate Robert Kocharyan, who won 58.9% of the vote in the second round. Turnout was 63.5% in the first round and 68.1% in the second.[2]

1998 Armenian presidential election

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  Robert Kocharyan's Interveiw, 2003.jpg Karen Demirchyan 1999.png
Nominee Robert Kocharyan Karen Demirchyan
Party Independent Armenian Socialist Party
Popular vote 908,613 618,764
Percentage 58.9% 40.1%

President before election

Levon Ter-Petrosyan

Elected President

Robert Kocharyan


The first round was held on 16 March 1998.[3] Prime Minister and acting President Robert Kocharyan and Karen Demirchyan, the leader of Soviet Armenia from 1974 to 1988, won the most votes: 38.5% and 30.5% respectively.[4] Demirchyan, who came in second, had been absent from politics for 10 years and had been in business.[5]

Demirchyan was seen as a good old man from the Soviet times who could "return to the certainties of the past and distaste for mafia capitalism personified by Ter-Petrosyan's rule."[5] Demirchyan was very popular among the Armenian public.[6][7][8] A poll quoted by Western diplomats, showed that Demirchyan had the support of the 53% of Armenians, while Kocharyan was favored by only 36%.[9] He was also preferable for the West, since he had more moderate approach to the Karabakh conflict settlement, while Kocharyan was seen as a vivid nationalist.[5]

The second round of the election was held on March 30 between Kocharyan and Demirchyan. Kocharyan won with 58.9% of the vote. The final results showed Demirchyan having only 40.1% of the vote.[4] The British Helsinki Human Rights Group claimed that "ordinary Armenians turned to Robert Kocharian as someone untainted by mafia connections and the intrigues of Yerevan politics."[5] The OSCE observation mission described the first round as "deeply flawed,"[10] while their final report stated that the mission found "serious flaws" and that the election did not meet the OSCE standards.[11] Although Demirchyan didn't officially dispute the election results, he never accepted them and did not congratulate Kocharyan.[12][13]


CandidatePartyFirst roundSecond round
Robert KocharyanIndependent545,93838.50908,61358.91
Karen DemirchyanSocialist Party431,96730.46618,76440.12
Vazgen ManukyanNational Democratic Union172,44912.16
Sergey BadalyanArmenian Communist Party155,02310.93
Paruyr HayrikyanUnion for National Self-Determination76,2125.37
David ShahnazaryanIndependent6,7980.48
Artashes GeghamyanNational Accord Party6,3140.45
Vigen KhachatryanDemocratic Liberal Party3,9990.28
Hrant KhachatryanConstitutional Rights Union2,9430.21
Aram Gaspar SargsyanDemocratic Party2,7100.19
Yuri MkrtchyanIndependent2,5110.18
Ashot BleyanNew Path1,5590.11
Against all9,5090.6714,8900.97
Valid votes1,417,93297.381,542,26798.38
Invalid/blank votes38,1772.6225,4351.62
Total votes1,456,109100.001,567,702100.00
Registered voters/turnout2,293,63663.482,300,81668.14
Source: Nohlen et al.


Hrant Mikayelian, researcher at the Caucasus Institute, estimated, based on turnout analysts, that actual results of the first round were as follows: Kocharyan at 32.6%, Demirchyan at 33.5%, Manukyan at 13.3% and Badalyan at 12%. As for the final result, Mikayelian estimated that Kocharyan would still win if no electoral violations took place, but with a smaller margin: 50.6% vs Demirchyan's 48.3%.[14]


  1. ^ Dieter Nohlen, Florian Grotz & Christof Hartmann (2001) Elections in Asia: A data handbook, Volume I, p329 ISBN 0-19-924958-X
  2. ^ Nohlen et al., p337
  3. ^ "Armenians to choose new president today". Hürriyet Daily News. 16 March 1998. Retrieved 15 April 2013.
  4. ^ a b "Summer 1998". Elections Today. International Foundation for Electoral Systems. 7 (4): 26. ISSN 1073-6719.
  5. ^ a b c d The Armenian Parliamentary Elections, 30th May 1999 (PDF). British Helsinki Human Rights Group. pp. 1–2. Archived from the original (PDF) on 30 August 2016. Retrieved 26 April 2013.
  6. ^ Reeve, Philip (16 March 1998). "Slick old fox set for comeback in Armenia poll". The Independent. Retrieved 15 April 2013.
  7. ^ "Armenians vote for president Monday". CNN. 15 March 1998. Retrieved 31 March 2013.
  8. ^ "Strong turnout as Armenians choose president". CNN. 16 March 1998. Retrieved 31 March 2013.
  9. ^ Bennett, Vanora (31 March 1998). "Armenians Vote for New President". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 17 April 2013.
  10. ^ "Armenian elections go to run-off". BBC News. 19 March 1998. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
  11. ^ "Republic of Armenian Presidential Election March 16 and 30, 1998 Final Report". Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights. 9 April 1998. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
  12. ^ Report on Armenia's parliamentary election May 30, 1999. Washington, DC: Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe. 1999. p. 5. Retrieved 6 April 2013.
  13. ^ "Key Armenian leaders assassinated". The Jamestown Foundation. 28 October 1999. Retrieved 25 May 2013. Although he considered himself cheated of victory, Demirchian tacitly accepted that outcome, bid his time and ultimately went for a deal with the party of power--Sarkisian's Republicans.
  14. ^ "Если бы выборы в Армении были честными? Альтернативный подсчет. 1990-е гг". kavkaz-uzel.eu (in Russian). 16 December 2018. Archived from the original on 29 June 2019.

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