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Local Election Observers Report Violations


Armenia - An official opens a ballot box after the end of voting in a constitutional referendum, Yerevan, 6Dec2015.

Armenia - An official opens a ballot box after the end of voting in a constitutional referendum, Yerevan, 6Dec2015.

An Armenian election-monitoring organization said on Monday that its members witnessed and documented 134 irregularities during nationwide local elections held over the weekend.

The Citizen Observer group, which monitored voting in 57 polling stations across Armenia, said those cases included fraudulent voting in place of other citizens, election officials’ failure to put mandatory seals on ballots and pressure exerted by them on observers. It also said that groups of intimidating individuals gathered outside some polling stations in violation of the country’s electoral legislation.

Tigran Yegorian, a Citizen Observer representative, said the irregularities may have influenced the results of at least some of the 317 local contests mostly won by pro-government candidates. “This means that these local elections are not perceived by the authorities to be of only local significance,” he told a news conference.

Yegorian said that the Citizen Observer plans to lodge around 90 formal complaints with the Central Election Commission (CEC).

A CEC spokeswoman, Hermine Harutiunian, told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am) earlier in the day that the commission has received several such complaints so far.

Irregularities have also been reported by other local observers as well as Armenian media.

Armenia’s Office of the Prosecutor-General said it has looked into those reports and referred 108 cases of alleged electoral fraud to relevant police departments. The latter were told to verify the credibility of the allegations, the office said in statement.

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