OSCE/ODIHR: Insufficient regard for standards essential to democratic
elections devalued the overall election process in Armenia


2008-05-30 16:44:00


ArmInfo. Insufficient regard for standards essential to democratic
elections devalued the overall election process in Armenia, the OSCE
Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) said in a
final report on the February 19 presidential election.

As ArmInfo was told by the press-service of ODIHR headquarters in
Warsaw, the document says: "While the 2008 presidential election mostly
met OSCE commitments and international standards in the pre-election
period and during voting hours, serious challenges to some commitments
did emerge, especially after election day. This displayed an
insufficient regard for standards essential to democratic elections and
devalued the overall election process. In particular, the vote count
demonstrated deficiencies of accountability and transparency, and
complaints and appeals procedures were not fully effective".

According to Ambassador Christian Strohal, Director of the ODIHR,
"there is a sound legal basis for holding democratic elections in
Armenia - the deficiencies noted in our report resulted primarily from
a lack of determination to apply existing laws and rules effectively
and impartially". "Improving Armenia's electoral framework does not
require so much further technical or legal changes, but rather a
genuine commitment by the authorities at all levels, as well as all
other political stakeholders, to a democratic electoral process free of
undue State interference and in line with OSCE standards", Strohal
noted.

The report makes concrete recommendations on how to improve Armenia's
election framework. These include measures to address the lack of
public confidence in the electoral process, to ensure that all citizens
are able to cast their votes free of coercion or intimidation, and to
establish a clear separation between State structures and the ruling
party.