Three of Armenia’s leading political forces clarified on Friday how a joint structure formed by them will seek to prevent possible fraud in Sunday’s parliamentary elections.
The Prosperous Armenia Party and the opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK) and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) said their territorial chapters across the country have been instructed to coordinate their members’ actions inside polling stations. They said they will also operate set up “rapid-reaction groups” that would respond to possible reports of irregularities coming from concrete locations.
The three election contenders plan to deploy proxies in all of Armenia’s 2,000 or so precincts on voting day. The BHK and Dashnaktsutyun also hold one seat each in every precinct election commission. The HAK has no such presence in the commissions because of not being represented in the outgoing Armenian parliament.
According to Levon Zurabian, a senior HAK figure, this means that they will have five or six “trustworthy persons” in every polling station. “In particular, it will be possible to ensure that vote counts are accurate, that they don’t miscount ballots, that there is no ballot stuffing, no open voting, no forced voting, no filming [of marked ballots] and so on,” he said.
Zurabian spoke to journalists after he and top representatives of the BHK and Dashnaktsutyun fleshed out their declared anti-fraud drive which is due to be coordinated by their Inter-Party Center for Public Oversight of the Elections. The center was set up on April 4.
In what was their first major joint step, the three groups appealed on Monday to Armenia’s Constitutional Court to order the post-election publication of the names of those eligible voters that will have cast ballots on Sunday. They say this is essential for staving off fraudulent voting in favor of President Serzh Sarkisian’s Republican Party (HHK).
The HHK insists that the measure is unnecessary and would only breach the secrecy of the vote. The Constitutional Court is expected to rule on the appeal on Saturday.
Zurabian acknowledged that the court is unlikely to accept the opposition demand backed by the BHK. He said the three groups will therefore have to find alternative ways of verifying whether ballots have been cast on behalf of non-existent voters or Armenians absent from the country.