Local government elections on March 9 were not much different from the previous elections
10.03.2014
12:00
Local government elections on March 9 were not much different from the previous presidential and parliamentary elections. "Citizen Observer" initiative has observed and recorded numerous violations during these elections.

“There have been recorded violations of right to expression of will, as well as abuses of administrative resources. Traditional methods like institute of “supporters” and inviting voters to the elections with various promises were applied”,-  says Tigran Yegoryan, member of "Citizen Observer" initiative.

According to Tigran Yegoryan, at several polling stations there have been up to 75 cases of “support”, when supporters instead of helping voters to vote, have voted themselves.

"Citizen Observer" initiative has also recorded population’s passive participation in the elections.

“Only 20-30% of population participates in the elections, the rest are indifferent to the electoral process”,- says Tigran Yegoryan, member of "Citizen Observer" initiative.

According to the "Citizen Observer" members, this index is due to the wrong perception of the local government bodies.

“The perception of local government is extremely flawed in the communities. Population is not ready to discuss their community issues, call head of community administration to account”,- says Levon Barseghyan, member of "Citizen Observer" initiative.

According to Lena Nazaryan, member of "Citizen Observer" initiative, people are not aware of the community budget, expenditures, candidates, right of running for office.

“People have vague idea of the essence of local government bodies. They absolutely do not participate in the local government”,- says Lena Nazaryan.

To raise awareness, "Citizen Observer" members have arranged number of meetings in 13 communities with 240 people before the elections. During those meetings they have presented the purpose of the local government, the mayor's powers and duties.

According to Artur Sakunts, member of "Citizen Observer" initiative, the opposition’s passiveness (ANC’s passiveness in particular) in the local government elections is due to the fact that local government issues are not subject to political agenda for parties.

Levon Barseghyan finds it mandatory for opposition to participate in local government elections.

“The opposition is obliged to participate in all levels of elections, no matter how frustrated it is. To me, not participating is unacceptable from the standpoint of political struggle”,- says Levon Barseghyan.

"Citizen Observer" initiative is currently developing recommendations for amendments to the Electoral Code, which will help to make the electoral process more transparent.

On March 10 members of ‘’Citizen Observer’’ initiative introduced their observations on local government bodies elections. The speakers were: Lena Nazaryan (Transparency International Anticorruption Center), Tigran Yegoryan (Europe in Law association NGO), Artur Sakunts (Helsinki Citizens Assembly, Vanadzor Office),Levon Barseghyan (Asparez Journalists Club). 

’’Citizen Observer’’ initiative includes four organizations: Transparency International Anticorruption Center, Europe in Law association NGO, Helsinki Citizens Assembly, Vanadzor Office and Asparez Journalists Club.

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