More Election Updates

A friend of mine has a fantastic review of the day’s events that took her hours to do. It even includes the humorous story of the hashtag hijacking that took place.

Official Statements

  • CIS says the election was open, free, and competitive. ICES says it was a democratic and competitive process.
  • During OSCE’s press announcement, protesters stood up and disrupted the event, causing the OSCE representatives to leave (link in Armenian). As a reminder, OSCE said the election was done fairly well. [Edit: the protester was Lena Nazaryan of Transparency International. When security tried to stop her, other activists stood up and she was allowed to continue.]
  • Die Welt (fourth largest newspaper in Germany according to Wikipedia) criticizes the election as unfair.
  • The Human Rights Defender wants the police to release all the statistics of the reports they received.
  • There are rumors that the city of Vanadzor (the third largest in Armenia) is essentially in “lock down” without the voting results being released. Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly Vanadzor Office reports that the police are doing nothing regarding the number of abuses.

Below is a gut-wrenching report from Narine Esmaeili, a member of Birthright Armenia and an Election Observer in Artashat precinct 17/5, that shows some of the more heavy-handed approaches used.

“We entered the polling place around 8. From the very start the commission members as well as the proxies told us to mind our own business and sit in the corner. We paid no attention and recorded Serzh Sargsyan supporters trying to vote more than once. Serzh’s proxies changed literally once an hour at this point and many of his supporters who seemed to be some sort of ranking offcials kept coming in and keeping an eye on us. Around 2:30 I noticed a lot of people were walking in (the max is 15). I asked the assigned cop to stop them and all of a sudden around 30 men entered and surrounded the ballot box. I walked up and grabbed the arm of one of the men who was holding on to the box and he pushed me against the wall and held my hands. He kept me there until it was over. From where I was standing I saw the commission’s secretary had opened the box and one of the other men poured in a bag full of ballots. I estimated around 400 since the count was at 500 about 20 min before hand and it seemed to have doubled. They ran out and everyone in the room pretended like nothing happened.

I called my boss. I called media center, OSCE, and almost everyone I could think of. Then I made the stupid move of calling the cops becasue they started harassing me. The village leader (whose son had pushed me) came in WITH the cops to tell me that I’m a good smart young girl and that I should stop lying if I want to stay out of trouble. They took my partner to a separate room and questioned him for over an hour only to make a faulty report. Then during counting they nearly arrested us when we complained about the numbers.”

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