"I WANT TO MEET WITH 9 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES"

A1+
[06:31 pm] 10 January, 2008

While talking about the presidential candidates, representatives of
NGOs and other organizations in Armenia, Secretary General of the
Council of Europe Terry Davis and the OSCE Needs Assessment Mission
have pointed out that the most obvious violation before 19 February
presidential election is the unequal conditions for the presidential
candidates in the information field.

Members of the OSCE observation mission refused to answer to the
question of "A1+", in favor of which candidate the principles of
equality are violated by the mass media and advised to read the Needs
Assessment Mission Report.

OSCE/ODIHR media analyst Ivan Godarsky was involved in the monitoring
of mass media in the pre-election period. Ambassador Geert-Hinrich
Ahrens, head of the observation mission also reflected on the primary
role of the mass media in the elections. "The role of mass media can
be decisive in the elections", said Mr Ahrens. He raised the issue
during the meetings with the RA Minister of Foreign Affairs and the
Chairman of the Central Electoral Commission. "I want to meet with all
presidential candidates, judicial authorities and the representatives
of NGOs. I also want to meet the long-term observers in the regions",
said the head of the OSCE observation mission.

The OSCE's Office for Democratic Institutes and Human Rights (ODIHR)
opened an election observation mission today for the presidential
election in Armenia on 19 February. Besides 11 core staff of the
mission, 28 long-term observers will be deployed throughout the
country on 15 January.

Mr Ahrens also informed that 250 short-term observers would be deployed
immediately prior to the election.

They will monitor the opening of polling stations, the voting, the
counting of ballots and the tabulation of results. Mr Ahrens, who
headed the OSCE observation mission during the election in Ukraine in
2004, declared that they would asses the electoral process in terms
of its compliance with OSCE commitments for democratic elections,
other international standards and national legislation. Before 19
February, the OSCE observers will present 2 interim reports, the next
day of the election they will present their assessment, and the last
one they will release in 2 months after the election.

The head of the OSCE mission mentioned that the OSCE has never
conducted an exit poll, and it is the US Government's intention to
conduct an exit poll in Armenia.

"We can use it as information and analyze it, but we cannot consider
the results of the exit poll decisive for the final results of
election", said Ambassador Greet-Hinrich Ahrens.