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2018 Sep
3

Statement on the preconditions for holding free and fair elections

We, the undersigned organizations, in the run-up to Yerevan City Council snap elections, restate the importance of providing preconditions for free and fair elections stated still in April 2018.

In order to hold free, fair and transparent elections in compliance with democratic standards it is required to have legal regulations ensuring free competition; authorities not misusing administrative resources; Central Electoral Commission (CEC) properly administering and overseeing electoral processes; Commission for Television and Radio (CTR) ensuring competitive broadcasting; law enforcement bodies effectively fighting against electoral violations; as well as independent courts properly examining electoral disputes. Moreover, public confidence in the abovementioned structures is another important precondition for the legitimacy of election results.

After the revolution the manifestation of political will by the head of RA executive branch is certainly an appreciable but not a sufficient precondition for ensuring completely clean and/or publicly acceptable - legitimate elections. The structures responsible for administering electoral processes in Armenia for years have been involved in electoral violations and fraud one way or another by their criminal actions or inaction that resulted in utter discreditation or devaluation of the electoral institute. Though it is most likely that in view of the new situation and “under the auspices” of the Prime Minister these structures would not be reluctant to properly implement their functions in the manner prescribed by law, we cannot turn a blind eye to their responsibilities in depriving the citizens of Armenia for years of their opportunities to freely exercise their right to vote and form the authorities. On the one hand if we turn a blind eye to their responsibilities or fall into oblivion we cannot ensure the apparent condemnation of the flawed practice of electoral violations and fraud, on the other hand they may cast a doubt on the upcoming elections. It is very important that the structures involved in electoral processes be “cleared” and at least, the discredited officials be dismissed.

The change of the chiefs of Police and Special investigation service and at least their current active and effective activities related to elections give us hope that the law enforcement activities stipulated by law might be implemented. It is also important that the composition or at least the heads of CEC and CTR be changed.

We are certain that those issues should be urgently settled in order to increase public trust and confidence.

We call on the heads of CEC and CTR to reconsider the expediency of their participation in the respective commissions and be dismissed to regain public trust in the elections.   

Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly Vanadzor Office
Transparency International Anticorruption Center
Journalists’ Club “Asparez”
Public Information and Need of Knowledge (PINK-Armenia) NGO
Contribution to Women and Children NGO
Committee to Protect Freedom of Expression NGO
Ijevan Civic Youth Center
Armavir Civic Youth Center
“Youth Avangard” public interest support NGO
Children’s Society NGO
Law development and protection foundation
Syunik Center for Civic Education NGO
Artashat Civic Youth Center
Yeghegnadzor Civic Youth Center
New Generation Humanitarian NGO
Spitak Helsinki Group NGO
“Agate” Rights Defense Center
Women's Resource Center
Public Awareness and Monitoring Center NGO
For Equal Rights NGO
Real World, Real People NGO
APR Group NGO
Gyumri Civic Youth Center
"Shogher" Union NGO
"Protection of Rights without Borders” NGO
“Colorful House” Social-cultural and Human Rights Defender NGO
Public Journalism Club NGO
Center for Economic Right NGO
Khoran Ard Intellectual NGO
“Bambir” cultural NGO
Angel. social educational cultural NGO
Human Rights Power NGO
Children's Society NGO
Peace Dialogue NGO
Women’s Rights Center
“Ditak” NGO
“Sose” women's issues NGO
“Fund against Violation of Law” NGO