OSCE Report: Tractors for votes? But generally clean campaigning

Vote 2012 | 28.04.12 | 13:29


By Siranuysh Gevorgyan
ArmeniaNow reporter

The OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights
(OSCE/ODIHR) published its second interim report on Elections in
Armenia. Overall positively assessing the campaign, some violations
were cited, in particular, application of administrative resource,
campaigning at educational institutions, and charity cases which are
prohibited by law during election campaigns.

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`While Article 18.6 of the Electoral Code prohibits campaigning and
distribution of campaign material by pedagogical staff and in
educational institutions, OSCE/ODIHR long-term observers (LTOs)
reported a number of cases of teachers and students involved in the
Republican Party of Armenia (RPA) campaign. In Echmiadzin, Armavir
province, on April 11students and teachers were released from school
to attend an RPA rally. On April 14 in Arabkir (a district of
Yerevan), teachers asked students to attend, after classes, an RPA
rally with President Serzh Sargsyan. LTOs observed RPA majoritarian
candidates (constituencies 19 and 21, Armavir province) campaigning in
schools with students and teachers present,' OSCE/ODIHR's (which
carries out a long-term and short-term observation missions in
Armenia) report reads.

The OSCE/ODIHR mission in Yerevan will consist of 13 international
experts and 24 long-term observers, as well as 250 short-term
observers, who will arrive in Armenia a few days before the E-day to
observe the process of the elections and the votes counting procedure.

OSCE/ODIHR LTOs noted that after the start of the campaign period, new
tractors appeared in Aragatsotn, Ararat, Armavir, Kotayk, Lori and
Shirak provinces, next to or adorned with Prosperous Armenia Party
(PAP) campaign material.

`According to a PAP brochure, the party attached importance to the
creation of tractor stations in all provinces,' the authors of the
report state. `The OSCE/ODIHR was informed by the general director of
Multigroup, a company which belongs to the PAP leader, that the
distribution of tractors is part of a business project.'

Various political parties, candidates, and civil society groups have
expressed their lack of trust in the election administration, courts,
and law enforcement bodies to address election-related complaints in
an impartial and effective manner to the OSCE/ODIHR Election
Observation Mission (EOM).

`Although election stakeholders have publicly reported numerous
complaints, few formal complaints have been filed with the respective
authorities,' the report reads.

From: A. Papazian