The Referendum Results Are Illegitimate - Citizen Observer Initiative and EPDE
The Citizen Observer Initiative and the European Platform for Democratic Elections assess the results of the December 6 Referendum on Constitutional Changes as illegitimate.

Tigran Yegoryan, Europe in Law Association, Artur Sakunts, Helsinki Citizens' Assembly Vanadzor Office, Lene Wetteland, Norwegian Helsinki Committee, member of EPDE, Sergiy Tkachenko, EPDE expert, Committee of Voters, Roman Udot, EPDE expert, Golos Association, and Vardine Grigoryan, Helsinki Citizens' Assembly Vanadzor Office, shared thoughts on the referendum and presented their observations.

“I do not believe these results are true. And I consider the results the Central Elections Commission presented a big lie. They are far from being true,” said Artur Sakunts.

825,622 people or 63.35 percent of voters said “yes” to constitutional changes whereas 421,593 people or 32.35 percent voted against the proposed project. The voter turnout was 1,296,368 people or 50.51 percent of the total number of voters.

Sakunts told the journalists they have already reported to the Police several incidents, namely cases when voters could not vote because someone else had already voted instead of them.

There were physical attacks on the observers, Lene Wetteland said. “Due to the high number of electoral violations and crime, including intimidation of voters, falsification of protocols and numerous reports on ballot box stuffing, we have to state that the Referendum results do not reflect the free will of the society and should not be considered legitimate. Pressure was exerted on observers and journalists. We are disappointed with both the pre-referendum campaign and the referendum as such,” said Wetteland.

Sergiy Tkachenko believes on the referendum day two out of the six international observers groups did not act in line with the international standards.

“The referendum was still underway but at 12pm the CIS mission announced the referendum was conducted within law and they hoped the society would make the right choice. Vladimir Churov, Head of Russia’s Central Elections Commission, said everything went smoothly, without gross violations.”

Lilit Arakelyan, Editor-Coordinator

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