WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly) is encouraged by the initial report of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly (OSCE PA), the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) and the European Parliament (EP), which noted that the elections were “well administered and fundamental freedoms were generally respected” with the election day “generally calm and peaceful but marked by organizational problems and undue interference in the process, mostly by party representatives.” The Assembly congratulates the people of Armenia for its participation in the election process with voter turn-out of over 60 percent.
The Republican party won 49.12% of the votes; “Tsarukyan” bloc came second with 27.32%; “Yelq” (Exit) bloc came third with 7.77%, and ARF-Dashnaktsutyun scored 6.57%. Other parties and blocs running for the elections failed to meet the threshold with Armenian Renaissance Party scoring 3.71%; “ORO” bloc with 2.07%; “Armenian National Congress – HZhK” bloc with 1.65%; Party of Free Democrats with 0.94%; and the Communist Party getting 0.75%.
“Armenia’s election process stands in sharp contrast to its neighbors. For example, in Azerbaijan its authoritarian president recently appointed his spouse as vice president and suppresses all opposition parties. In Turkey, Erdogan’s authoritarian regime continues its crackdown against opposition leaders and wide-scale imprisonment of journalists. Armenia also compares favorably to the other countries which emerged from the Soviet Union,” stated Assembly Co-Chairs Anthony Barsamian and Van Krikorian. “As Armenia makes further advances in its democratic institutions, we strongly urge the government to address the irregularities cited, including that of vote buying and pressure on voters.
“Yesterday’s elections marked a first step towards establishing a new political system in Armenia, but change cannot happen overnight,” said Ignacio Sanchez Amor, Special Coordinator and leader of the short-term OSCE observer mission and Parliament Member from Spain. “Reform is a never-ending process, and I encourage the parliamentary majority and the new government to continue their efforts to transform the country’s political culture, in partnership with the opposition, civil society and the international community.”
In November 2016, the United States, European Union, United Kingdom, and Germany pledged to fund concrete measures designed to improve confidence in the election process and help prevent fraud in Armenia’s parliamentary elections. U.S. funding supported agreements signed by the Armenian government and three leading opposition parties on voting conduct for the April 2017 elections. Funds went toward equipment required for live online broadcasts of voting and ballot counting, as well as electronic verification of voters’ identity, and other amendments to Armenia’s Electoral Code.
The Assembly strongly encouraged the U.S. government to support this initiative considering its importance to strengthening the democratic process in Armenia. At the time, the Assembly Co-Chairs stated: “The Armenian Assembly commends the U.S. and the EU for providing financial assistance to support this initiative to further the rule of law in Armenia. We are nonpartisan in both the American and Armenian contexts but this type of support to improve confidence in the democratic process serves us all.”
Established in 1972, the Armenian Assembly of America is the largest Washington-based nationwide organization promoting public understanding and awareness of Armenian issues. The Assembly is a non-partisan, 501(c)(3) tax-exempt membership organization.