Observers Share Thoughts on the Latest Local Elections
The September 13 local elections in twenty-two communities were held without big violations. What was observed can be referred to as traditional violations such as crowds near polling stations, people who “guided” voters, etc., said the observers.

Earlier on September 13, elections of local self-government bodies were held in 22 communities in Armenia. The largest communities were Maralik and Ijevan. The Republican Mayor Artak Gevorgyan, and Artak Avdakyan, a candidate of the Prosperous Armenia Party, were running for a mayor’s seat in Maralik town in Shirak Marz. 1965 of the 3147 voters cast their votes for Artak Gevorgyan and 1110 voted for Artak Avdakyan. Two republican candidates – Mayor Vardan Ghalumyan and Varuzhan Nersisyan – were competing for a mayoral post in Ijevan city in Tavush Marz. The results were 6240 votes for Vardan Ghalumyan and 2032 for Varuzhan Nersisyan.

“No major violations were reported during the latest local elections. We had observers in Maralik who reported about overcrowding in front of polling stations. There were also people who eagerly guided citizens, telling them who they should vote for. The mechanisms seem to have become more modernized,” Armen Petrosyan from KhoranArd Intellectual Center said at the Media Center hosted press conference.

Varduhi Ananyan, Coordinator at Vanadzor Civil Youth Center, who was in the observers’ group in Ijevan, said the same violations were seen in Ijevan. “Besides, we were approached and asked questions. They knew everything about the observers,” Ananyan said, adding their group reported a case when a person voted instead of another voter.

“The daughter-in-law voted instead of her mother-in-law. The Commission Head avoided our questions on why he did not include the case in the protocol. He only smiled,” Ananyan said.

The observers pointed out the issue of ID cards which citizens could not vote with in some communities. “There is no clear system in this regard. Decisions were made right in the polling stations. For example, in Maralik the voting with ID cards was allowed till 10 am, and then it was banned,” Armen Petrosyan said.

The observers believe the problem with ID cards is the lack of a citizen's residence address on it. “However, it is still hard to explain why they allowed to vote with ID cards in some communities, while it was banned in the others,” Petrosyan said.

Arshaluis Mghdesyan, Editor-Coordinator

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