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Armenians ‘Still Distrust Elections’


Armenia - Human rights ombudsman Karen Andreasian gives a press conference in Yerevan, 10Dec2012.

Armenia - Human rights ombudsman Karen Andreasian gives a press conference in Yerevan, 10Dec2012.

Most Armenians continue to believe that elections held in their country are not democratic, the state human rights ombudsman, Karen Andreasian, said on Monday.

“True, we had progress in 2012 in the sense that there was no violence and blatant violations during voting and ballot counting. But our society still does not trust in electoral processes,” Andreasian told a news conference.

“The problem lies in the formalist approaches of the Central Election Commission, the police and the prosecutors,” he said, speaking on Human Rights Day marked around the world.

Elections held in Armenia have been marred by fraud and other violations ever since the mid-1990s. Still, despite continuing opposition allegations of massive vote rigging, Western monitors have reported major progress in election administration in the country in the last few years.

Citing their findings, the United States and the European Union gave a largely positive assessment of the last Armenian parliamentary elections held in May. The Armenian government has assured them that a presidential election due next February will be even more democratic.

Opposition groups dismiss these assurances, saying that the authorities rigged the May polls and will seek to do the same in order to ensure President Serzh Sarkisian’s reelection.
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