Armenia between elections.

The dust has hardly settled following the 6 May parliamentary elections in Armenia but attention is already shifting to Presidential elections scheduled for early next year.

Two reports published in the last few days analyse the outcome of the Parliamentary elections. The OSCE/ODIHR published the final report of its Election Observation Mission with detailed recommendations of things that need to happen before the February elections if they are to be considered up to international standards. On its part, the International Crisis Group in a separate report also looks at both the past and forthcoming elections but says that at the next elections there is more at stake than simply who is going to be the next President of Armenia.  “The country needs a better future than a stunted economy and dead-end conflicts with neighbours.” More…

More changes to Georgian election code. US Ambassador says time to move from process to substance.

The Georgian Parliament in session

On June 12, the Georgian parliament passed the first reading of the draft amendments to the national election code.

Amendments include modifying the eligibility criteria for voter and political participation, decreasing the legal age requirement for running for office, extending the mandate of the Voters’ List Verification Commission (VLVC), as well as establishing criteria for international electoral observers monitoring Georgian elections.  

The amendments are designed to bring the Election Code in line with the May 2012 constitutional amendments which came into force at the beginning of June. More…

PACE report adds to mixed reviews of Armenian Parliamentary Elections.

On May 24, Baroness Emma Nicholson, Chairperson of the ad hoc committee for the Observation of the 6 May Parliamentary Elections in Armenia, presented the findings of the mission to the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) in Tirana.

Noting the electoral campaign was “vibrant, competitive, and largely peaceful”, the report highlights several issues observed leading up to and during the election, notably the general distrust of the election process as a whole. Issues raised include: inaccuracies in the voter lists, voter intimidation, voting and vote counting procedures, as well as the issuance of passports to facilitate fraud, vote buying and deficiencies in complaint and appeal mechanisms.

The International Electoral Observation Mission (IEOM), composed of observers from PACE, the European Parliament, OSCE/ODIHR and OSCE/PA, visited 1,000 out of 1,982 polling stations in and around Yerevan, Armavir, Ejmiatsin, Aragatsotn, Shirak, Vanadzor, Ararat and Vayotz Dzor on 6 May 2012. More…

Armenian Elections: International Monitors look at the bright side, leaving the Armenians to deal with the dark side. Reply

photo: Ambassador Janez Lenarčič, the Director of ODIHR, observes voting in a polling station in the village of Balahovit during Armenia’s parliamentary elections, 6 May 2012. His presence as part of the mission was somewhat unusual. (picture courtesy of OSCE).

Most of the international observers who monitored the 6 May Parliamentary elections in Armenia decided in their preliminary findings to focus on the bright side of the process, although the more serious ones also highlighted serious problems and shortcomings.

Their reports paint a confused picture which reflects a flawed, but improved electoral process, and which has resulted in the government tightening its hold on parliament but with all opposition parties of any significance now represented in the legislature.