Armenia: Referendum assessed as illegitimate by Citizen Observers and EPDE
Citizen Observer Initiative and the European Platform for Democratic Elections declare the results of the Constitutional Referendum illegitimate
Systematic violations of the electoral law and intimidation and threats toward citizen observers at the December 6 Constitutional Referendum were unprecedented in the Armenian history, Citizen Observer and EPDE experts announced at a press conference in Yerevan on Dec. 7.
The observers at the Referendum documented more content-related violations than ever before: ballot-box stuffing, carousel voting, double-voting, falsification of protocols, voter intimidation, and artificial inflation of voters lists and attendance were systematic and widespread all around the country.
According to the local experts, Armenian authorities were vehement in making sure the results garnered a ‘’Yes’’ vote.
''We can record that yesterday’s Referendum had as much weight as the 2013 presidential elections - if not more - because pressure against observers was higher than ever.
The violations, intimidation and threats have been unprecedented. They have been systematic. I have not seen such intimidation toward our observers in the past,'' said Artur Sakunts of the Helsinki Citizen’s Assembly Vanadzor. ‘’The police did not respond to complaints of election violations.’’
The Citizen Observer and EPDE observers and media had 700 local observers and international media representatives in more than 500 polling stations around the country and documented violations.
As of 12 p.m. Dec. 7, the Citizen Observer interactive election fraud map had received 941 violations from observers, said Vardine Grigoryan from the Helsinki Citizens Assembly Vanadzor. This doesn’t encompass all the violations, as observers also reported electoral law violations and intimidation on the phone. The observers also submitted photos, videos and other evidence substantiating the reports. The reported cases show commonly occurring systematic violations.
According to Roman Udot, expert from Golos Movement, the correlation between the outcome and voter turnout was high: the higher the turnout, the higher the ‘’Yes’’ votes, whereas precincts with lower turnout rates were ‘’No.’’
‘’What we see is two different Armenias: one lives in the precincts with lower turnouts and the other in precincts with higher turnouts,’’ concluded Udot..
See the statement of the Citizen Observer Initiative and the EPDE here