Decision 2013: NGOs call for accounting of voter lists

Representatives of Armenia’s civil society are demanding from the authorities to publicize the voter lists with voter signatures from February 18. The publication of the voter lists, they insist, would let Armenian voters make sure that “their names and the names of those absent from the country have not been misused, and would prove the legitimacy of the country’s leadership now being formed”.

“Otherwise, citizens of Armenia have all the grounds to believe that the 2013 presidential elections have been rigged in order to gain power at all costs,” says the statement by eight NGOs, the majority of which were on observer missions on Election Day. Transparency International Anti-Corruption center, Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly Vanadzor office, Asparez journalism club, Armenia’s Helsinki Committee, Women’s Support Center, Women’s Resource Center, and the Open Society Foundations – Armenia has signed the petition.

The Armenian authorities have traditionally refused the opposition’s demand to make public the lists of those absent from Armenia and the signed voter lists, on the grounds that doing so would inappropriately disclose voters’ personal information.

“If the authorities say ‘we did not commit fraud’, the only way to prove it is to open the voter lists and say – please, come and check. Otherwise, my distrust will grow deeper. He [President Serzh Sargsyan] must present grounded proofs, rather than just murmur – it is up to you to believe or not; we need facts to dispel our doubts,” Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly Vanadzor office leader Artur Sakunts told the press Tuesday.

Introducing the NGOs’ statement, Sakunts said that according to the civil structures’ observation the authorities repeatedly violated the law during the entire election process, and it affected the election outcome.

As a proof of this claim executive director of Transparency International Anti-Corruption center Varuzhan Hoktanyan presented their analysis of votes earned by Sargsyan and official runner up Raffi Hovannisian at the polling stations with both high and low turnout. Based on that analysis, at the polling station where up to 50 percent of registered voters cast ballots, Hovannisian was the winner. At the polling stations, with above 50 percent turnout, voter behavior changed radically in favor of Sargsyan. The Central Election Commission officially stated Monday that Sargsyan has been re-elected for a second term. Hovannisian has refused to recognize the CEC data and continues the post-election standoff.

“It has to be proved what has secured the Serzh Sargsyan votes at the polling places with high turnout,” said Hoktanyan.