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EU Envoy Calls For Democratic Elections In Armenia


Armenia -- Andrea Wiktorin, head of the EU Delegation in Armenia, attends a seminar in Yerevan, March 6, 2020.

The head of the European Union Delegation in Yerevan on Thursday urged Armenia’s government, political factions and media to help ensure that Sunday’s general elections are “peaceful” and democratic.

“It is time to come together and overcome the crisis in a spirit of reconciliation and solidarity,” Andrea Wiktorin said at a meeting with Armenian civic activists and representatives of the local United Nations office.

“I call upon all electoral stakeholders, their supporters and those who use the mass media and social media to increase efforts to contribute to making June 20 a day in which democracy wins, for the future of Armenian children,” she said, according to an EU Delegation statement.

Wiktorin added that the EU has allocated almost 1 million euros ($1.2 million) for the proper conduct of the snap polls meant to end a serious political crisis in the country. Much of that money has been provided to local election observers.

The June 20 vote is also expected to be monitored by some 300 observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

The election campaign has been marked by bitter accusations traded by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian and two opposition blocs led by Armenia’s former Presidents Serzh Sarkisian and Robert Kocharian. The Armenian human rights ombudsman, Arman Tatoyan, has criticized their inflammatory campaign rhetoric and, in particular, Pashinian’s pledges to “hammer” his political foes and “purge” local government officials supporting the opposition.

Pashinian’s Civil Contract party announced earlier this week that it is planning to hold daylong rallies in Yerevan from June 21-24. It has not yet explained the purpose of the planned rallies.

Some opposition figures have speculated that Pashinian could pressure the Central Election Commission not to validate possible election results giving victory to the opposition.

The U.S. Embassy in Yerevan on Wednesday urged American citizens living in Armenia to stay away from post-election demonstrations.

“Over the next two weeks, demonstrations or rallies related to elections may take place in Yerevan and other locations throughout Armenia,” said a “demonstration alert” posted on the embassy’s website. “U.S. citizens should exercise vigilance, avoid crowds, and remain alert and aware of their surroundings at all times.”

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