How Armenia has become a parliamentary republic
According to the Armenian CEC, more than half of the country’s electorate (50.51%) participated in the constitutional referendum, held on December 6. 63.35% voted “for introduction of amendments to the basic law. This means, Armenia has voted for a transfer from the semi-presidential to the parliamentary form of governance.
JAMnews has already reported that journalists recorded numerous violations during the referendum and the Armenian media reported on them parallel to the voting process. Later on, both, local and invited observers, commented on the course of the ballot.
First about positive
‘The referendum on constitutional reforms in Armenia, which provides for transfer to the parliamentary form of governance, was held in a free and open environment. The Mission has not recorded any violations,’ reads a statement of the Head of the CIS observation mission, Yevgeny Sloboda.
In his words, ‘the voting procedure was in compliance with the Electoral Code of Armenia. Everything proceeded peacefully, within the legal framework. In the Mission’s opinion, the referendum was conducted in a free and open atmosphere, public authorities provide the citizens with an opportunity to express their free will.’
The CIS observation mission’s opinion is at variance with that of other observation missions.
Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly Vanadzor Office believes, the CEC data have nothing to do with actual state of affairs. The Head of the Office, Artur Sakunts, claims, all types of violations were recorded in Armenia on December 6, including ballot box stuffing, unprecedented pressure on observers and journalists, casting vote for other voters, people’s targeted transfer from one polling station to another for voting, bribing the polling station staff.
The ‘Union of Informed Citizens‘ has presented its list of violations, recorded during the voting procedure: distribution of voter bribes, violation of the secrecy of vote, obstruction of observers, voting instead of other citizens and even physical abuse. According to Daniel Ioannisyan, the ‘Union of Informed Citizens’ Program Coordinator, those were mass violations and they could influence the outcome of the referendum.
Representatives of the European Platform for Democratic Elections (EPDE) stated that there had been physical violence against the observers throughout the day during the referendum and that there had been reports on ballot box stuffing and pressure on journalists.
The EPDE official, Lene Wetteland, stated: ‘The rigged results of the referendum do not reflect the free will of Armenian citizens and this plebiscite cannot be considered legitimate.’
‘168 Zham‘ (168 hours) Newspaper: ‘On Sunday, based on the results of the referendum, the bill on constitutional amendments won its crushing victory, gaining 63% of ‘aye’ votes against 32,3% ‘nay. The victory was really crushing both, literally and figuratively, since on Sunday, the authorities crushed all their pledges and naive expectations for fair elections, using the most advanced methods of election violations, ever applied in all previous elections. ‘
‘The Aravot‘ newspaper (Aram Abrahamian): ‘And people after every elections and referendum, since 1995, feel resented. I assume that this is also the reason for migration and not just the material problems. Of course, in Russia and elsewhere, they are also resentful, but it is clear that in your country, you feel more pain. People are resentful first and foremost with the authorities, and it is normal. To some extent, it is acceptable that people are a little bit offended with the opposition, whose programs are often vague.