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Observers Record Several Violations in Armenian Village Elections

Several communities in the Armenian provinces of Lori, Tavush, Ararat, Kotayk, and Shirak had their local government elections on March 9. In most of the villages there was no competition as second candidates withdrew their candidacies, leaving only the incumbent, who was often from the ruling Republican Party of Armenia, in the race.

Only one community had 4 candidates — Lernavan village in Lori marz (province). According to the Central Electoral Commission, candidate Vachagan Vardanyan obtained 502 votes and won the village mayoral election. In second place was Razmik Grigoryan with 209 votes. In 3 communities, there were 3 candidates, with only 1 or 2 candidates in all the other communities.

The initiative Citizen Observer observed this election and recorded electoral violations in several communities [AM], the largest number being in Ararat marz. There were 10 violations each in Nizami and Zorak. According to Citizen Observer, the violations in Nizami included guiding voters, congestion in polling stations, and gathering outside polling stations were unauthorized individuals who insulted and terrorized observer Lala Aslikyan, some of whom identified themselves as Republican Party of Armenia members.

It's noteworthy that, according to the Central Electoral Commission, in Nizami, independent (not affiliated with any party) candidate Harutin Karapetyan won, gathering 254 votes. The incumbent, Republican Party of Armenia member Artavazd Dunoyan, gathered 214 votes, while the Prosperous Armenia Party nominee, Garlen Babayan, 132 votes.

In the village of Zorak, observers recorded the following violations: a voter tried to vote using someone else's passport and though he wasn't allowed to vote, he vilified and left the precinct, but the commission president refused to make a report: there was already a signature next to the voter's name and the voter left without voting, but the electoral commission president refused to write a report that the voter tried to vote with someone else's passport.

Winning the village mayor seat in Zorak was Republican Party of Armenia representative Manuk Maloyan, who, according to official results, gathered 531 votes. His opponent, Eduard Harutyunyan, gathered 262 votes.