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…
The voters list has once more emerged as one of the main problems connected with Armenian elections. Opposition activists accuse the Armenian government of artificially inflating the voter’s list by several hundred thousand voters as part of organised election fraud. The issue is somewhat more complicated, but many questions remain.
On 25 April 2012 the Armenian Passports and Visas Department (PVD) of the Armenian Police, the entity that is responsible to compile the country’s election list, published the names of those entitled to vote in the May 6 elections. The list had 2,482,238 names. After some adjustments in the days prior to the elections, the final election list on the eve of the election included 2,484,003 names.
This figure immediately triggered an outcry from opposition parties who questioned how there could be in 2012 more than 150,000 additional voters in Armenia then in 2008, when it was common knowledge that the population of the country had decreased as a result of outward migration during the recent economic crisis. More…
Over the next eighteen months the three countries of the South Caucasus – Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia, will conduct important elections that many consider will determine the future of the individual countries and of the region, and most certainly will decisively impact their relations with Europe.
The cycle kicked off on May 6th with Parliamentary Elections in Armenia. Parliamentary elections in Georgia are scheduled for October. Next year will see the three countries voting in Presidential elections.
The region has a history of troubled and contested elections, and whilst some polls have been better than others, many observers feel that there has not been a single election, since the three countries regained their independence after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, that fully met international standards. This situation continuously raises questions of legitimacy around the three governments, and has been a matter of concern to European Union and US officials, who are keen to increase relations with the region and see this situation as a major obstacle. More…
Armenian Parliamentary Elections
6 May 2012 – Results
Number of voters: 1,573,053
Number of voters on the voting list (including those registered on polling day): 2,523,101
Percentage of voter turnout: 62.26%
Number of blank or invalid votes: 53,831
Results (Proportional Lists Elections) :
Republican Party: 664,440 (44.02%)
Prosperous Armenia: 454,673 (30.12%)
ANC: 106,903 (7.08%)
ARF: 85,550 (5.67%)
Rule of Law: 83,123 (5.51%)
Heritage: 86,998 (5.76%)
Armenian Communist Party: 15,899 (1.5%)
Democratic Party of Armenia: 5,577 (0.37%)
United Armenians Party: 2,945 (0.20%) More…
It is not possible to say that there has been a level playing field in the Armenian Parliamentary Elections Campaign of the past weeks. Some parties could make use of administrative resources, and others of financial resources not available to their competitors. But an active media, and the ability to use time on television for all parties, enabled all contestants to put across their message to the electorate.
The media in the elections divided into three streams. The printed media has close association with the political parties and in many cases this was reflected in its coverage of the elections. New media: websites and news portals provided a broad spectrum of opinion and were perhaps the most free and active in the campaign. Some web-based media outlets had television programmes included on their sites which complimented the coverage of the regular TV stations. These sites however have limited audiences.
As usual the most important role was played by television stations. Though largely controlled by government, the stations by and large followed guidelines for balanced reporting once the election campaign started. The fact that all parties had free air time, and also the possibility of purchasing a certain amount of paid air time, helped a lot in enabling the message of all parties to get across to the electorate.
All the major parties held rallies in the centre of Yerevan, and in other parts of the countries. These events were usually well attended and often accompanied by musical entertainment. The campaign nearly ended in tragedy when in the last hours of campaigning on May 4th an incident occurred at the final rally of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia. Balloons that had been filled with helium exploded throwing a ball of fire on the largely young crowd. Several dozen people suffered severe burns although miraculously no one died, and most of those injured were released from hospitals a few days later.
There were some small incidents of violence but on the whole the campaign was peaceful. The tone was not always positive and there were some personal attacks on candidates and politicians.
Armenia’s president Serzh Sargsyan led from the front. He participated in numerous activities of his Republican Party (RPA) addressing voters on a range of domestic and local issues. The role of local governors and district administrations remains controversial. Many have been accused of supporting the ruling party not only through the use of administrative resources but also through intimidation of voters.
The full engagement of all the main political forces in the election campaign has helped give credibility to the election process and is definitely a positive factor.
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.