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Number of Eligible Voters Increased While Armenia’s Population Dwindling
YEREVAN — The number of eligible voters officially registered in Armenia has increased by nearly seven percent since the last national election four years ago, according to the voter lists updated ahead of the upcoming parliamentary polls.
The voter rolls posted on the official websites of the Armenian Police and the Central Election Commission show that the number of people in Armenia allowed to vote in the May 6 elections is just over 2,485,000 – an increase by more than 165,000 voters as compared to the official figure reported before the 2008 presidential election.
Many believe that such a growth is impossible given the rate of emigration, as well as the preliminary data of the census taken last year, according to which Armenia’s permanent population has dwindled by some 415,000 to around 2,870,000 over the 10-year period. They also challenge the assumption that only less than 400,000 people in the country are actually below Armenia’s national voting age of 18.
Meanwhile, head of the Passport and Visa Department of the Armenian Police Hovannes Kocharian dismissed the speculation about any kind of deliberate distortion of the electoral rolls to meet the interests of the ruling political force or any other groups. He explained the essential rise in the number of voters by a more meticulous registration of citizens in Armenia in the past four years.
“A total of 359,614 voters, who weren’t on the 2008 lists, have been added to the register by this year,” he said.
By the time the Police in its statement published on Thursday insist that the assumptions about the figure’s being exaggerated “do not correspond to reality,” information to the contrary had been posted on Facebook.
Edgar Tamaryan, 25, a Facebook user, found his relatives – who in fact live in Georgia – included on the voter registration list as living in Yerevan.
Further, more than 100 people were “registered” as living at that same address.
Opposition groups have cast doubts over the veracity of the electoral rolls presented by the authorities. They again accuse the government of trying to rig the vote by inflating the official number of registered voters.