Last week, the 18th of February, presidential elections took place in Armenia. The European Platform for Democratic Elections (EPDE) sent a delegation consisting of four experts of some the EPDE member organisations. The organisations represented in this mission were the Swedish International Liberal Centre, the Norwegian Helsinki Committee, Association GOLOS from Russia and the European Exchange from Germany. The delegation was granted accreditation through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Armenia on the 16th of February and conducted observations on the election-day in the capital Yerevan and the Lori region. The aim of the EPDE delegation’s visit was to get an insight into the election process and to draft recommendations for the further development of civic election observation in Armenia.
Having just come home, our representative had the following quick reflection:
“Having spent a couple of days in Yerevan just before the Presidential elections, I found a general dissatisfaction with the current political environment in the country. There seemed to be very little hope of changing the situation. All of that changed on the election night. Results from polling stations overseen by civil observers all over the country brought the unexpected news that the liberal opposition candidate Raffi Hovannisian was leading. Observers could not believe it! Suddenly, people felt the hope that now, possibly, the road to democracy might have been opened. That road was eventually sealed off again, but people will remember the short flicker of another future that they saw. Who knows what they will do with that memory?”
Here’s an extract from the EPDE statement:
“Election day was characterized 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.”
Please find the full report here.