May 2017 elections to Yerevan Council of Elders to be discussed at CoE Congress next week

The Information report on the elections to the Council of Elders of Yerevan, Armenia (14 May 2017) will be discussed at the Council of Europe’s Congress next week, on Thursday, 19 October. The delegation, led by Congress’ Vice-President Liisa ANSALA (Finland, ILDG), visited Yerevan from 11 to 15 May 2017.

Luc Martens from Belgium will present the report; the presentation will be followed by a debate.

Further to an invitation by the Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia, the Congress deployed an Electoral to Assessment Mission monitor the elections to the Council of Elders of the City of Yerevan held on 14 May 2017. The elections in Yerevan were the first local elections to be organized under the 2016 Electoral Code.

Apart from some individual irregularities, the Congress delegation assessed the elections as technically well prepared, overall in line with international standards, and carried out in a calm and orderly manner. However, there are recurring issues of concern to Congress observers, in particular the quality of voters’ lists and the fact that these lists include a large number of voters who are residing de facto abroad. In order to strengthen citizens’ trust in the electoral process which is surrounded by a general atmosphere of skepticism and electoral fatigue, the authorities should pay more attention to allegations of vote buying and misuse of administrative resources. Moreover, the accessibility of polling stations for persons with disabilities and elderly people needs to be addressed.

In addition, the organization of local elections only a month after the 2 April 2017 Parliamentary elections didn’t ensure transparency and public interest in grassroots’ elections. The Congress would thus welcome measures towards establishing one unified Election Day for the local level, which should also be organized within a reasonable timeframe from the Parliamentary elections.

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