Election observers critical of Armenia poll | News | DW | 07.05.2012
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Election observers critical of Armenia poll

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) said on Monday that democratic failings undermined what was an otherwise peaceful election that featured an open campaign.

A statement released on the OSCE's website said that certain aspects of a new electoral code were not implemented adequately, and that pressure on voters as well as a deficient complaints process were shortcomings in the poll.

"Armenia deserves recognition for its electoral reforms and its open and peaceful campaign environment but, in this race, several stakeholders too often failed to comply with the law and election commissions too often failed to enforce it," said Francois-Xavier de Donnea, the Special coordinator who led the short-term OSCE observer mission. "As a result, the international commitments to which Armenia has freely subscribed were not always respected."

But in contrast to Armenia's last election in 2008 that left 10 dead, Sunday's poll was a step in the right direction.

“The high turnout of over 60 percent, the wide age range among voters, and the clear understanding of the electoral process by young and old alike were impressive, but reports of widespread interference with the running of polling stations, voters' movement and casting of votes throughout the day by certain political parties raised serious concerns,” said Emma Nicholson, the head of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe delegation.

Armenia's central election commission said President Serzh Sarkisian's Republican party took 44.05 percent of the vote after all ballots had been counted.

The second best showing was for the Prosperous Armenia party, which was previously the Republican party's coalition partner but has turned into a political rival.

mz/msh (AFP, Reuters)