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Quiet Elections

Unlike past elections, when NGOs with an observing mission would receive a huge number of calls and reports of violations, this year, the elections were absolutely quiet. “Akanates” alliance of NGOs conducting election observation presented their conclusions over the parliamentarian elections of December 9, 2018. Levon Barseghyan of “Asparez Press Club” stated that during these elections, systemic electoral fraud was not observed, “no cases of systematically coordinated accumulation of people, ushering people into polling stations, guiding how to vote, inaction by police were recorded.” A similar conclusion was made earlier this year regarding the municipal elections in Yerevan.

“Akanates” alliance of Transparency International anti-corruption center, “Asparez Press Club” of Gyumri and “Restart” civic initiative with 30 lawyers and operators deployed 600 observers in 300 precincts of Armenia.

Sona Ayvazyan, president of Transparency International, is confident that these elections reflect the will of the people. “We can state that we have a representative parliament. The process of elections was peaceful, despite a few reported incidents. These are substantive violations, however too few in number.”

“Akanates” election observation mission has concluded that all the phases of the elections complied with the law and were peaceful. There was quorum in 96% of the polling stations; the requirements for ballot boxes were met in 99% of them; in 96% of the stations the set-up ensured confidentiality of voting with the remaining 4% of stations immediately resolving the issue.

Issues reported by the observation mission include inaccessibility of polling stations for wheelchairs; in a few stations there was a presence of unauthorized people (17 cases); the confidentiality of voting was violated in 2-3 reported cases; there was family voting in another pair of cases. In 6% of the 300 polling stations voters were aided, while intimidation, psychological pressure and violence was recorded in 3 cases. Repeat voting was observed in 3 cases, another pair of cases reported of voters finding signatures in front of their names in the voter lists.

Overall, the observing mission received 107 reports.

“Akanates” also followed the pace of voter participation. In 31 polling stations the observers suspect indirect or direct ballot stuffing as there was a sharp increase of participation between 11:00 and 14:00.

“Compared to last year, the number of such polling stations was 108,” specified Varuzhan Hoktanyan of Transparency International.