The ruling Republican Party (HHK) reacted positively on Wednesday to Western observers’ final report on Armenia’s parliamentary elections, portraying it as further proof that the May 6 vote was the most democratic in the country’s history.
“If they, in their subjective evaluations, see negative things in 9 percent [of polling stations,] that means things were positive in the remaining 91 percent,” HHK spokesman Eduard Sharmazanov said, commenting on the report released by an election-monitoring mission deployed by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
“In countries like Armenia moving along the path of democratization, if such an authoritative structure thinks that [voting] in 91 percent [of polling stations] was positive, that is great progress,” Sharmazanov told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am).
In its report released on Tuesday, the OSCE mission praised the pre-election political environment in the country but reported violations in a “considerable” number of polling stations on election day. It did not say whether the elections as a whole complied with democratic standards. The report also listed concrete recommendations to the Armenian authorities which the OSCE believes would improve the conduct of future Armenian elections.
“We regard as very positive all those proposals that are aimed not blackening things but helping the Armenian society and authorities and political forces to organize even more democratic elections,” Sharmazanov said.
The official election results, which gave a landslide victory to the HHK, were rejected as illegitimate by virtually all other major political forces. In a joint statement on May 11, the Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK), the election runner-up, and two leading opposition groups said the election outcome was decided by voter list manipulation and multiple fraudulent voting.
One of those groups, the Armenian National Congress (HAK), offered a diametrically opposite interpretation of the OSCE’s final election verdict, calling it a “severe blow to Armenia’s international reputation.” In a statement, the HAK saids the OSCE observers effectively concluded that the parliamentary elections were not democratic.