Calm and competitive atmosphere during campaign, but several violations
Observers find general atmosphere of election campaign for the 9 December early parliamentary elections in Armenia calm and competitive, but also note several violations.
“The general atmosphere of the election campaign has been calm, and there has been no mass prevalence of violations like previously, e.g. threats, vote buying, intimidation etc,” said Aleksey Petrosyan, Project Coordinator with Transparency International Anti-Corruption Center.
Armenian EPDE member organisations Helsinki Citizens Assembly Vanadzor and Transparency International Anticorruption Center train and coordinate approximately 1500 long term and short term observers from the citizen observers’ coalitions Independent Observer and Akanates. Findings from the election campaign period were presented at the press conference.
Experts of the European Platform for Democratic Elections (EPDE) will carry out statistical analysis of voting day in order to determine whether genuine improvements have taken place compared to the 2017 Parliamentary elections.
“Significant changes have taken place in Armenia over the last months, and there are great expectations to the elections on Sunday. However, it is still important that local and international observers pay close attention to how Armenia adheres to the international obligations for fair and free elections, also after the April revolution,” said Lene Wetteland, senior adviser with the Norwegian Helsinki Committee and member of the EPDE.
Both election observer missions report abuse of administrative resources. Charity activities also remain, and there are violations connected to distribution and placement of campaign material. However, both missions underline these violations are not centralised, and not limited to only one or two parties. An important difference compared to previous elections is the expectation that violations of the electoral code will be prosecuted.
“Despite the documented violations in this election campaign, it is important to note that we have never experienced this competitive and free exchange of thoughts and ideas in connection with elections previously,” noted Artur Sakunts, Head of Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly Vanadzor.
The EPDE will host a second press conference at Double Tree Hilton, at 12 noon Monday 10 December presenting the findings from election day and the statistical analysis.
The European Platform for Democratic Elections (EPDE) is a network of 14 European organisations working together on an equal level to promote domestic election observation. The aim is to assist citizens’ election observation and contribute to democratic election processes throughout Europe through trainings, joint monitoring missions and outreach. EPDE should improve the professionalism of domestic election observation throughout Europe and increase the visibility of findings of domestic election observation nationally and internationally.