WARSAW, 30 May 2008 - The pre-election and voting period of Armenia's presidential election was conducted in a manner that mostly met OSCE commitments, but problems arose, notably after the vote, the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) said in a final report on the February election, released today.
"While the 2008 presidential election mostly met OSCE commitments and international standards in the pre-election period and during voting hours, serious challenges to some commitments did emerge, especially after election day," the report says.
"This displayed an insufficient regard for standards essential to democratic elections and devalued the overall election process. In particular, the vote count demonstrated deficiencies of accountability and transparency, and complaints and appeals procedures were not fully effective."
The ODIHR monitored the February presidential election with 44 long-term and 250 short-term observers from over 40 OSCE participating States. The report assesses the electoral process for compliance with OSCE commitments, other international standards and national legislation.
"There is a sound legal basis for holding democratic elections in Armenia - the deficiencies noted in our report resulted primarily from a lack of determination to apply existing laws and rules effectively and impartially," said Ambassador Christian Strohal, Director of the ODIHR.
"Improving Armenia's electoral framework does not require so much further technical or legal changes, but rather a genuine commitment by the authorities at all levels, as well as all other political stakeholders, to a democratic electoral process free of undue State interference and in line with OSCE standards."
The report makes concrete recommendations on how to improve Armenia's election framework. These include measures to address the lack of public confidence in the electoral process, to ensure that all citizens are able to cast their votes free of coercion or intimidation, and to establish a clear separation between State structures and the ruling party.
*source: OSCE/ODHIR press release; /emphasis mine/