YEREVAN — A team from the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) visited Yerevan from 29 November to 1 December 2017 to present the final report of OSCE/ODIHR election observation mission for the 2 April parliamentary elections in Armenia.
The report’s findings and recommendations were explored during meetings and discussions with representatives of the National Assembly, Central Election Commission, political parties, state authorities, civil society and the international community. The ODIHR team outlined potential areas for further co-operation and proposed concrete steps that can be taken by various stakeholders to address the recommendations.
The ODIHR team drew attention to priority recommendations aimed at addressing persisting issues of vote-buying and abuse of state resources with a view to strengthening public confidence in the electoral process.
The report recommends, among other things, undertaking inclusive and timely electoral reforms to address remaining gaps and ambiguities in the law, including with regard to campaigning, campaign finance regulations, the right to appeal and deadlines for filing complaints. ODIHR noted that further efforts are needed to remove restrictions on the suffrage rights of persons with disabilities and enhance their access to voting procedures, to increase women’s participation in elections and enhance the effectiveness of election administration.
The majority of ODIHR interlocutors highlighted the need to address the lack of public trust in the electoral process in Armenia and called on the political establishment to demonstrate political will against all forms of pressure on voters and publicly discourage the buying and selling of votes.
“While acknowledging stakeholders’ willingness to engage in a meaningful process to implement the electoral recommendations, broad and inclusive consultation is needed for a successful reform process,” said Donald Bisson, Deputy Head of the ODIHR election observation mission, during the visit.
“ODIHR stands ready to offer its support in implementing the recommendations, including through a review of amendments to electoral legislation, advice on good practices and matters of technical implementation,” said Alexander Shlyk, Head of the ODIHR Elections Department.
All OSCE participating States have committed themselves to promptly follow up on ODIHR election assessments and recommendations.