Point of View

Ad hoc report of the RA Human Rights Defender: after the Parliamentary Elections, before the Presidential Elections

03.07.2012

HRD Karen Andreasyan

RA Human Rights Defender Karen Andreasyan suggests empowering RA Police to remove from the pre-election voter lists the names of persons who are extensively absent from Armenia.  He is convinced that this step will reduce the intention of people to falsify voting.

This is one of the suggestions of the Ombudsman discussed in the 2012 ad hoc report on the Parliamentary Elections. The Ombudsman analyzed the elections from several perspectives: inaccuracy of the voter lists, pre-election campaign, Election Day.  Electoral bribery, misuse of the administrative resources, violence and complaint mechanisms are discussed in the report.

Turmoil around the number of voter lists has begun when it appeared that larger number of voters is included in the voter lists of the 2012 Parliamentary Elections compared to the 2008 Presidential Elections. The report concerning the issue was submitted to the Prosecutor’s Office. According to the statement of the Prosecutor’s Office regarding the issue, since February 2008, the difference of the number of voters removed from the registry and those who were included as of the April 2012 corresponds to factual situation.

However people are skeptical about the data so far. Thereby, Karen Andresasyan suggests removing from the voter lists the names of people who are extensively or permanently absent from Armenia. Currently RA Police is not entitled to do so by the RA law.

«There were ten cases of violence. For example, a nose of the opposition representative was broken, and we expected that there will be a solution and then there is reconciliation and the society does not see those who were guilty. Another call was received from the opposition regarding the hindrance to their campaign but later the complainant had not come to the Police», has recorded the Ombudsman.

The first case concerns Babken Garoyan who was beaten by a group of young men and his nose was broken. The violence was applied also towards deputy candidates Gayane Arustamyan and Zoya Tadevosyan. Based on the report from Gayane Arustamyan a criminal case has been instituted on April 16, 2012 under the Article 117 (Infliction of willful light damage to health) of the RA Criminal Code.

«Later, on May 21, 2012 B. Garoyan has submitted the application to the Malatia Administrative District Investigation Department where he stated that has no demand in relation to Vardan Vardanyan who had confessed his guilt, forgave him and asked not to bring Vardan Vardanyan to legal responsibility. On this ground, the criminal proceeding has been terminated in the result of reconciliation between victim B. Garoyan and accused V. Vardanyan», is written in the ad hoc report.  

Karen Andreasyan believes, media had equally covered the election campaign and the elections but the coverage was not substantial. 

«The voter had not a possibility to make a choice because there was no program suggested. Abstract issues were presented which are not connected with programs. This led to the development of the electoral bribes because when there is no choice of ideas, one is choosing between 5000 and 10 000 drams», convinced the Ombudsman.

The Human Rights Defender believes that in contrary to the previous elections, when the ballot stuffing, fraud during the votes counting, violence and multiple voting happened on mass scale, these elections differed significantly and positively.

 «The most concerning of all the violations registered in the 2012 election was distribution of electoral bribes. According to the certain part of the society, the electoral bribes were widespread. Despite this opinion, there is no substantial evidence supporting that view. The law enforcement bodies recognized that majority of the hundreds of registered complaints on electoral bribes were unreliable », is stated in the report.

The law enforcement bodies have the responsibility to reveal the actual volume of distribution of electoral bribes, believes Karen Andreasyan, yet the Police and Prosecutors work in almost all the above-mentioned cases was consistently and extremely inadequate

«Such limited enforcement cannot prevent cases of electoral bribes during the next elections and reduces public confidence towards those authorities and the election outcome», believes Karen Andreasyan.

The Ombudsman says that the reports of the misuse of administrative resources during the election were not widespread, and therefore it is not possible to state that misuse of administrative resources had a significant impact on the election outcome. 

In respond to the question of www.hra.am whether the fact that 70% of the secondary schools directors are members of the Republican Party of Armenia had not any impact on the electoral process, Karen Andreasyan said:

«There were very few calls regarding the misuse of the administrative resources, I agree that heads of certain institutions should not belong to parties but we have to take into account also the fact that if there is a problem why it is not voiced ?»

In the report it is also welcomed that the cases of hindrance the activities of observers, proxies, journalists and other participants of electoral process and violation against them have been reduced significantly.

Human Rights Defender has also recorded that all the entities participating in the elections had a real and affordable possibility to appeal against decisions of the authorities affecting their interests. All the appeals operated in a reasonable timeframe and followed the procedural legal requirements.   

Author Կարինե Իոնեսյան
Source www.hra.am