YEREVAN — The US Embassy in Armenia has issued a statement on joining international efforts in providing financial support to the new voting processes for the 2017 parliamentary elections in Armenia.

The statement reads:
“The U.S. Government welcomes the agreement that was reached in June and September between the Armenian government and parliamentary political factions – with input from civil society representatives – on strengthening the integrity and credibility of the Armenian election process.

We consider this agreement a meaningful step towards restoring public trust and accountability in Armenia’s electoral processes. Based on President Sarkisian’s pledge in December 2015, we take seriously the Armenian government’s commitment that the parliamentary elections of 2017 will be “conducted in the atmosphere of greater trust, so that results of the election are not doubted by either political parties, or citizens.”

To help make this public commitment to credible elections a reality, the United States is pleased to join – along with the European Union, the UK, and Germany – in providing financial support to the new voting processes and equipment provided for in the June 17 and September 9 agreements, so that these processes and equipment are in place for the spring 2017 parliamentary elections. With our fellow international donors, all of whom are working in partnership with the United Nations Mission to Armenia, the U.S. Embassy will help fund the efforts of the Armenian government, political opposition, and civil society to strengthen trust in the Armenian electoral process via same-day voter authentication and the publication of signed voter lists after the elections, all as agreed in the June and September agreements.

We join in this effort understanding that no single new electoral mechanism will completely do away with electoral fraud, however. It is a matter of political will. Fundamentally, the burden is on the government and its constituent institutions – the Central Election Commission, law enforcement bodies, and the judiciary – to foster a markedly different approach to elections; to ensure the Armenian people’s free expression of choice at the voting booth; and to safeguard the essential, unfettered work of domestic and international election observers and media both on election day and afterwards. A free and fair election also requires responsible civic engagement in the election process, along with engaged electoral observation, from the Armenian opposition, civil society, and all citizens regardless of their political views.

The U.S. Embassy agrees with President Sarkisian’s assessment that the “forthcoming elections will shape the future” of the Armenian state. The United States was the first country to recognize Armenia’s independence in 1991, and our two countries have been friends and partners for 25 years. We remain strongly committed to being a part of Armenia’s ongoing democratic growth and in helping it become the independent, secure, and prosperous nation its people deserve. Free, unfettered, and credible elections are an absolutely indispensable component of the path towards achieving this goal.”

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