Armenia: Presidential election characterized by fraud and low opposition participation | Den norske Helsingforskomité

Presidential election characterized by low political competition and reports of fraud

Presidential election characterized by low political competition and reports of fraud

Election Day in Armenia was characterized by reports of ballot stuffing, multiple voting and intimidation of voters, following a campaign where the three main opposition parties decided not to nominate their presidential candidates. This is the conclusion of a delegation from the European Platform for Democratic Elections (EPDE), consisting of four experts of the Norwegian Helsinki Committee, Swedish International Liberal Centre SILC, Sweden, Association GOLOS, Russia and European Exchange, Germany to the Presidential elections on 18 February in Armenia.

-Though there were several reports about fraud before and during Election Day, social media showed that many Armenians took this opportunity to state their opinion, says NHC’s Lene Wetteland, who was present in Armenia for the elections. - Many demonstrated contempt by voting for American celebrity Kim Kardashian; one ate his ballot, another returned the 5000 AMD bribe with a note that not everyone can be bought, and surprisingly many voted for the runner-up Raffi Hovhannisyan, who is now arranging rallies in towns all over Armenia.


Yerevan, 20 February 2013: The elections were characterised by a lack of political competition, low-key campaigning and a relatively low presence of partisan election observers in precincts on election-day. This has to be explained with the decision of the three main opposition parties not to nominate their candidates for the Presidential elections and consequently not to deploy their proxies to the election precincts.

Election day was characterised by a committed election administration, which aimed at ensuring a calm voting process. However, during election day civic election observers reported on ballot stuffing, multiple voting and intimidation of voters through proxies of one of the candidates, which raises concern on the fairness of the electoral process. Some of those election precincts where civic election observers monitored the voting process showed a significant lower voter turnout (up to 25%) than neighbouring election precincts – often in the same building -where no observers were present. The precincts with inflated voter turnout showed higher voting results for the incumbent Serge Sargsyan than for his competitor Raffi Hovhannisyan. These observations give ground to suppose that both the voter turnout and voting results have been subject to manipulation on election day.

The new election code provides in general an adequate framework for the conduct of transparent and democratic election and includes wide competences for the conduct of civic election observation. Civic election observation in Armenia deserves special attention by Armenian and international institutions. Legal provisions for civic election observation should be further improved and methodological support be reinforced in order to further develop civic control over electoral processes in the country and to increase public trust in national and international democratic institutions.

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