Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Policy Forum Armenia - Election Report

Policy Forum Armenia (PFA) is an independent think tank “to offer alternative views and professional analysis containing innovative and practical recommendations for public policy design and implementation.” Recently PFA published a comprehensive critical analysis on February presidential election in Armenia, including instances of reported fraud, statistical analysis of the official election outcome (which provides additional indication on unavoidability of the 2nd round of voting), and the role of civil society (including blogs).

They concluded that “unless the authorities undertake credible confidence-building measures and genuinely attempt a dialogue with the opposition, the current government is doomed to become the government of some Armenians rather than of Armenia as a whole.”

Main recommendations include independent inquiry into 1 March events, release of political prisoners and early parliamentary elections under the oversight of a joint Armenia-Diaspora body.

Chief among those confidence-building measures should be an independent inquiry into the February 19 and March 1-2 affairs. This should result in credible and transparent legal cases against the perpetrators of the election fraud—including at the higher levels of the political pyramid—and subsequent crimes. This process should be preceded by the release of all political prisoners as a confidence-building measure to allow the society to heal. Once this is under way, a task force could be formed to look into the conduct of early parliamentary elections and into the design of measures to prevent any large-scale fraud from repeating itself. This process could perhaps be overseen by a credible joint body of local and Diaspora individuals with high social standing. To the extent that managing this process would require executive powers and ability to legislate (on a limited basis, to do away with any loopholes in the current election-related legislation that effectively allowed the fraud to take root), this joint body may be given status of provisional (election) administrators, with a clear mandate of securing a free and fair election within a fixed timetable. These administrators will then be certainly well advised to reverse the ban on the voting at the embassies abroad, allowing Armenia’s sizable yet largely disenfranchised non-resident citizenry to participate in country’s governance.
Unfortunately, currently PFA website has became hacked and non-operational. In the meantime, as PFA administrators trying to resolve the issue, you may access the Election Report by clicking on this link.

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