Armenia presidential election was well-administered, despite shortcomings – report

May 10, 2013 Leave a comment

The February 18 presidential election in Armenia was generally well-administered and characterized by a respect for fundamental freedoms, the OSCE Organization for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights says in its final report.
The election observation mission has found that the contestants were able to campaign freely, with the media fulfilling their legal obligation to provide a balanced coverage and allow all contestants to use their free airtime.
The observers say that the legal framework was comprehensive and conducive overall to the conduct of democratic elections.
They further address the shortcomings, noting that they were mostly caused by a lack of will to implement the provisions effectively and impartially. The authors of the report point out to the continuing law public trust in the election process.
“A working group composed of government and other state officials was established by presidential decree to explore the recommendations offered in the OSCE/ODIHR final report on the 2012 parliamentary elections and by other organizations, and to put forward an action plan for their implementation. The results of the group’s work were presented to the OSCE/ODIHR in October 2012, which recommended that fundamental aspects of the legal framework should not be amended so close to the upcoming election, in line with good electoral practice.
“The election administration, headed by the Central Election Commission (CEC), administered the election in an overall professional manner and within legal deadlines. The CEC worked in an open and transparent manner, approving the main procedural rules, standard forms and instructions well in advance of election day, and making them available on its website. Campaign-financing rules have been strengthened in the new Electoral Code; the CEC, however, provided unsound interpretations of some campaign-financing regulations. The CEC accredited over 6,200 citizen observers from 26 non-governmental organizations, in an inclusive process.
“The quality of the voter register and voter lists benefitted from various measures taken by the authorities, including a pilot project to provide for better information exchange between various government agencies. Despite serious efforts to technically improve the voter register, the authorities did not manage to diffuse the overall mistrust in the integrity of voter registration. Several presidential candidates voiced their concerns regarding the voter lists, alleging that the number of registered voters was highly inflated and could be used for impersonation of voters residing abroad on election day, yet they did not provide evidence to support their claims,” reads the report.
The observers have further found that the incumbent President Serzh Sargsyan’s election race was visible against the backdrop of the limited scope of campaign activities by the other candidates.
The report also refers to a lack of impartiality of the public administration and abuse of administrative resources, including a high number of state and local officials campaigning, “which blurred the line between state and political party as well as between the performance of official and campaign duties”.The full report can be accessed here.

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Voter Complaints Dismissed by Yerevan=?UTF-8?B?4oCZ?=s Electoral Commissions

May 9, 2013 Leave a comment

00:37, May 10, 2013

By Tamara S. Voskanian

Following Yerevan’s May 5 municipal election, in which a variety of voting day violations were observed by election monitors, attorneys have filed approximately 160 complaints with the Territorial Electoral Commissions of the four Precincts representing the following three districts of Armenia’s capital: Sebastia-Malatia, Shengavit, and Erebuni-Nubarashen. The initial complaints had to be filed by 6 pm on the Monday following the elections – an extremely short deadline given the number of recorded violations.On May 8th at approximately 3 pm, the Electoral Commissionsfor the above-mentioned precincts notified the attorneys who filed the complaints that all four hearings werescheduled to take place at 7 pmthat same evening, within several hours of the call.

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Chess: Aronian to face reigning world champ in opening round at Stavanger

May 9, 2013 Leave a comment

Top Armenian grandmaster Levon Aronian will start his participation in a super tournament in the Norwegian city of Stavanger playing with black pieces against reigning world champion Viswanathan Anand from India.

This and other parings at the 10-man tournament were confirmed based on the results from the blitz tournament held on Tuesday.

Classical chess games at Stavanger begin today and will run through May 18 – nine rounds all in all.

Among the participants of the tournament are also Magnus Carlsen and Jon Hammer (both Norway), Peter Svidler and Sergey Karjakin (both Russia), Teimour Radjabov (Azerbaijan), Veselin Topalov (Bulgaria), Hikaru Nakamura (USA), and Wang Hao (China).

To follow the tournament online go to the following website: www.norwaychess.com/en

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Tsarni Retracts Apology to Armenians; Breaks Promise to Rectify Earlier Claim

May 8, 2013 Leave a comment

00:04, May 8, 2013

By Harut Sassounian 

Publisher, The California Courier 

Armenians woke up on April 30 to the breaking news: “Ruslan Tsarni Apologizes to Armenian Community,” as reported by Alin Gregorian, editor of the Armenian Mirror-Spectator of Watertown, Mass. 

Prior to this apology, Tsarni had been telling the international media that “an Armenian convert to Islam had brainwashed” his nephews — Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev — the Boston bombers. By linking an Armenian to such a heinous crime, Uncle Tsarni had infuriated Armenians who suspected dubious motives behind his outlandish claim. 

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Armenian president receives head of UAE Supreme Supervisory Agency

May 8, 2013 Leave a comment

Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan received on Tuesday Mr Harib al-Amini, Head of the Supreme Supervisory Agency of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). In the context of consolidating the bilateral relations, Armenia’s leader emphasized high-level mutual visits.President Serzh Sargsyan noted that the Armenian and Arab peoples’ history is full of striking examples of friendship, which has developed into close interstate ties.The sides expressed their satisfaction with bilateral cooperation within international organizations.Armenia’s leader pointed out the recently intensified contacts between the Armenian and UAE supervisory agencies.Mr Harib al-Amini pointed out efficient cooperation with Armenia’s Control Chamber. He expressed the confidence in a great potential for developing this cooperation. The sides stressed the importance of exchanging experience. 

Source: TertOriginial Article

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President Sargsyan says former SIS chief failed to accomplish task set to him

May 8, 2013 Leave a comment

Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan on Monday visited the Special Investigation Service (SIS) where he introduced the new head of the Service, Vahram Shahinyan, to the staff.

According to the presidential press service, Sargsyan spoke also of the reasons for relieving the former Head of the Service Andranik Mirzoyan of his duties and tasks set before the Service.

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Opposition Leader Against Boycotting Yerevan Council

May 7, 2013 Leave a comment

An opposition bloc led by Raffi Hovannisian will likely take up its seats in Yerevan’s new municipal council despite considering the weekend local elections fraudulent, one of its senior members said on Tuesday.

Armen Martirosian, who topped the list of the Barev Yerevan bloc’s election candidates, stressed at the same time that it has not made a final decision yet. He said Hovannisian’s Zharangutyun (Heritage) needs to discuss the matter with smaller opposition groups aligned in the bloc.

“My personal view is that we must take up the Council of Elders mandates,” Martirosian told journalists. “I believe that just as Zharangutyun has been able to solve many issues related to individual citizens and social groups in the parliament, we have to work in the council as well.” He also said Barev Yerevan has a moral obligation to “disappointed citizens” that voted for the opposition.

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