Armenian Presidential Elections
The U.S. shares the OSCE’s concerns about a lack of impartiality on the part of the public administration.
Armenians went to the polls on February 18th to elect a new president. President Serzh Sargsian won a new five-year term receiving 58.6 percent of the vote. His opponent and opposition leader Raffi Hovhannissyan received 37 percent of the vote in the nation of 3.2 million people.
Armenia's Central Election Commission officially certified Mr. Sargsian as the winner on February 25. Supporters of Mr. Hovhannissyan have twice held protests drawing several thousand people in the capital of Yerevan, claiming the vote was rigged in favor of Mr. Sargsian.
International observers declared the election to be generally well-administered and characterized by a respect for fundamental freedoms, including those of assembly and expression, but some key concerns remain.
The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights found that the media provided balanced coverage, and that all candidates made use of their free air time.
But the United States shares the OSCE’s concerns about a lack of impartiality on the part of the public administration and the misuse of administrative resources that resulted in a blurred distinction between the activities of the state and those of the ruling party, both during the pre-election period and on election-day.
The United States agrees with the findings that while election day was calm and orderly, it was marked by undue interference in the process, mainly by proxies representing the incumbent, and some serious violations, including cases of pressure on voters.
The United States will continue to monitor the findings of international and domestic election observers, as well as the adjudication of election grievance during the post-election period.
The United States urges Armenian law enforcement officials to investigate and to take appropriate action in response to credible reporting of election law violations. It is important for all parties to engage peacefully and for the Armenian government to respect fundamental freedoms and the rule of law.