Pre-Election Campaign: Evaluation of International and Armenian Observers
The pre-election stage conduct was free, competitive and peaceful. That was a significant difference compared to last year’s parliamentary elections. This was the note struck by Aleksey Petrosyan, project director at Transparency International Anti-Corruption Center on December 7 at Media Center press conference.

The press conference was attended also by Lene Wetteland, representative of  European Paltform of Democratic Elections and Artur Sakunts, head of HCA Vanadzor office.  
Petrosyan said that there is a significant progress regarding misuse of administrative resources and exercising pressure on voters.
“The observers also came across election bribe and charity episodes but they were not systematic,” Petrosyan said.
He thinks the issue of low level of professionalism of the election commissions is disputable.

“Some shady organizations have registered a big number of voters. For example United Youth Palace and Abovyan students council have registered suspiciously big number of observers, around 5400 each.”
Artur Sakunts, head of HCA Vanadzor office thinks these elections were a serious challenge both for voters and observers.  

“This campaign involves parties who bear the political system of the previous authoritarian system and they used to say that the system is lifeless. According to him previous elections lacked discourse and thought clashes that we witnessed now. These elections were characterized by extremely acute manifestations of thought expression freedom and opinion clashes”, Sakunts said.

He noted that they also carried out long term observations with 84 observers in all the regions.
“Pre-election staff heads observations make it clear that 12 percent were concerned about campaigning material dissemination obstacles, 33 percent reported about violations on behalf of other parties, 24 percent reported about hate speech on behalf of other parties. In 149 pre-election gatherings budget institutions employees’ active participation was reported which is use of resources”, he said.
During the pre-election campaign 16 out of 325 violations relate to My step. Prosperous Armenia and Sasna Tsrer also made such violations.
“However, there was no organized and instructed misuse of resources compared to previous authorities. But those concerns regarding territorial election rolls being unfavorable for free and fair election conduct were confirmed during these elections”, Sakunts said.

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