This report has just been released. It does not contain any assessment on conduct or results of the election (leaving it perhaps for the final report) but rather focuses on recording events and reported irregularities during the monitored period (20 February - 3 March). However, it does state that "the final assessment of the election depends, in part, on the conduct of the remaining stages of the election process, including the tabulation and announcement of final results and the handling of possible post-election day complaints or appeals."
OSCE/ODIHR election observation mission report covering the period 20 February - 3 March 2008
On 20 February, the International Election Observation Mission (IEOM), comprising the 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), issued a joint Statement of Preliminary Findings and Conclusions. This statement reported that the 19 February presidential election “was administered mostly in line with OSCE and Council of Europe commitments and standards. The high-State authorities made genuine efforts to address shortcomings noted in previous elections, including the legal framework, and repeatedly stated their intention to conduct democratic elections. However, further improvements and commensurate political will are required to address remaining challenges such as: the absence of a clear separation between State and party functions, the lack of public confidence in the electoral process and ensuring equal treatment of election contestants. The conduct of the count did not contribute to reducing an existing suspicion amongst election stakeholders.”
The statement signalled that the final assessment of the election depends, in part, on the conduct of the remaining stages of the election process, including the tabulation and announcement of final results and the handling of possible post-election day complaints or appeals. From 20 February, the OSCE/ODIHR Election Observation Mission (EOM) has continued its observation of the post-election process.
This interim report should be read in conjunction with pre-election interim reports, as well as the statement of preliminary findings and conclusions. The OSCE/ODIHR will issue a comprehensive final report, including recommendations, approximately two months after full completion of the election process.
• On 20 February, the Central Election Commission (CEC) announced preliminary results indicating that Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan had won the election. The second placed candidate, Levon Ter-Petrossian, made accusations of widespread election falsification and claimed that he had won the election.
• Demonstrations against the conduct of the election were held repeatedly and remained peaceful until 1 March when police dispersed the demonstrators. Subsequent clashes between demonstrators and the police and military turned violent resulting in fatalities and injuries, and President Kocharian declared a state of emergency. On 26 February, Serzh Sargsyan offered to collaborate with the other presidential candidates.
• Results from 135 Precinct Election Commissions (PECs) were recounted by Territorial Election Commissions (TECs). OSCE/ODIHR observers noted shortcomings in the recount process, including discrepancies and mistakes, some of which raise questions over the impartiality of the PECs and TECs concerned.
• On 24 February, the CEC declared that Mr. Sargsyan had won the election with 52.8 per cent of the vote; Mr. Ter-Petrossian received 21.5 per cent and Arthur Baghdasaryan 16.7 per cent. Two of the eight CEC members did not sign the official protocol of results.
• Results data published for all PECs on the CEC website revealed some anomalies at specific PECs, including implausibly high voter turnout; results for Mr. Sargsyan in excess of 99 per cent of the vote; and a very high incidence of invalid ballots in some PECs, especially in Yerevan.
• The OSCE/ODIHR EOM received information that complaints had not been accepted by PECs on election day. In the post election period, the CEC received several complaints; its handling of these did not provide complainants with an effective remedy and raises concern about its commitment to ensure the protection of citizens’ electoral rights.
• During the post-election period, the main broadcast media, including public television and radio, provided extensive coverage of the views of the authorities but rarely aired the views of those who raised concerns regarding the conduct of the 19 February poll.
Full report is available here