Civil Society organizations respond to the question of legitimacy regarding the 2013 elections in the Republic of Armenia
Yerevan, February 26th, 2013
On February 18th of 2013 the most unprecedented presidential elections in the history of the Republic of Armenia took place in Armenia. Despite careful attempts by the government in power to decrease the amount of competition and to secure an outwardly peaceful election, which also meant the reproduction and legitimation of the government that came into power as a result of the 2008 electoral fraud, during this year's election the citizens of the Republic of Armenia expressed their deep distrust of the government in place. As a result, opposition leader Raffi Hovanisian was able to defeat the current president, Serzh Sragsyan, through the votes he received in a number of cities and villages within Armenia.
We, the representatives of civil society who are involved in human rights and the development of democracy in Armenia, find that the officially announced election results by the central electoral committee of the Armenian Republic do not represent the reality and even more, fail to shape a legitimate presidential institution.
Observations implemented by various political structures have shown that the entire electoral process, whether it be the pre-voting or the voting stage, have been accompanied by a number of violations of law organized by the government. These violations have taken on the form of exploitation of administrative resources, bribes, threats, fraudulent ballots, voting in place of absent voters, and falsification of results. All of these falsifications can be proven through a number of facts as well as via actual videos that have been circulating on social networking and media websites. Members of electoral committees have simply become participants in the process of electoral fraud, while law enforcement agencies have displayed a total lack of inactivity in preventing and ending these violations. Whereas, it is evident that large-scale violations significantly affect the outcome of elections, which are shown in official data analyses, including comparisons of election results between observed and non-observed voting stations.
We find it important to note that the evaluations of observing international bodies which act in the name of promotion of democracy do not always reflect the reality of the processes taking place and have been largely driven by political motives. Such evaluations instill distrust within the public not only toward the mission of European monitoring structures, but in general, toward international human rights standards and international democratic institutions.
One of the fundamental aspects of a democratic society is the ability of the people to shape government and their confidence that the election process will be just and decent. The opinion of voters, as well as the mass demonstrations and civil disobedience which took place after the February elections, once again prove that the citizens of Armenia do not believe in the honesty and integrity of the election process and results. Considering it of utter importance to gain the confidence of the public regarding the election process, we demand that the government of the Republic of Armenia publish the signed election ballots to assure Armenian voters of the fact that their or their fellow absent voters' names have not been exploited and that the emerging government has been shaped legitimately. Otherwise, Armenian's citizens have every reason to believe that the 2013 presidential elections were forged in order to maintain and protect the current powers that be at all costs.
- Transparency International Anticorruption Center NGO
- Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly Office in Vanadzor NGO
- Journalists Club “Asparez” NGO
- Helsinki Committee of Armenia NGO
- Collaboration for Democracy NGO
- Womens’ Support Center NGO
- Womens’ Resource Center NGO
- Open Society Foundations – Armenia Foundation
- We Plus NGO
- Public Information and Knowledge NGO
- Protection of Rights without Borders NGO
- Ecolur NGO
- Committee to Protect Freedom of Expression NGO
- “Arevamanuk” family and Child Care Fund
- Journalists for Protection of Human Rights NGO
- “Yerashkhiq” Civil Society Center NGO
- New Generation NGO
- Socioscope NGO
- Environmental Right NGO
- “Rule of the Right” Human Rights NGO
- “Family and Community” Charity NGO