YEREVAN (RFE/RL) — The United States on Tuesday gave a largely positive assessment of the conduct of the weekend parliamentary elections in Armenia.
“The U. S. Embassy [in Yerevan] congratulates the people of Armenia on their April 2 parliamentary election, following a period of widespread competition among various parties and blocs in an environment that allowed all viewpoints access to the media,” read a statement released by the mission. “Election day was generally calm and orderly across Armenia and voters were able to freely exercise their right to vote.”
The statement backed the preliminary findings of an OSCE-led monitoring team which said that the vote was “well administered” but “tainted by credible information about vote-buying” and pressure on voters. But it also said that electronic anti-fraud equipment installed in the Armenian polling stations helped to prevent more serious irregularities.
“With the help of this new technology, procedures within polling stations on April 2 were generally administered without major incident and within guidelines set forth by Armenian electoral laws,” added the U.S. mission.
It referred to the verification of voters’ identity through special electronic devices and online broadcasts of voting and ballot counting. The U.S. and the European Union financed the purchase of this equipment earlier this year. It was primarily meant to preclude multiple voting by government supporters — one of the most serious forms of fraud reported during previous Armenian elections.
The OSCE-led mission, which also included representatives of the European Parliament and the Council of Europe, did not report significant instances of multiple voting in its preliminary election verdict delivered on Monday.
U.S. officials have repeatedly stressed the importance of the proper conduct of Sunday’s vote in recent months. Richard Mills, the U.S. ambassador in Yerevan, said in February that it “will shape the future of Armenia.”