Home > Latest News > Armenia presidential election was well-administered, despite shortcomings – report

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

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.

Armenian News

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