OSCE Begins Monitoring Armenia Presidential Elections

YEREVAN (OSCE News/Noyan-Tapan)–The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) has established an Election Observation Mission to monitor the February 19 presidential elections in Armenia. Mission members–headed by Peter Eicher–recently arrived in Yerevan and met on January 22 with Parliament Speaker Armen Khachatrian who was confident about upcoming elections.

Khachatrian expressed Armenia’s readiness to hold free–fair and transparent elections and render assistance to the mission in any way possible to ensure a democratic election process.

Introducing the members of the OSCE mission–Eicher stressed that they have vast experience monitoring elections in various countries and have arrived in Armenia ready to conduct objective work. He stated that having studied Armenia’s electoral legislation–mission members have found that it in fact allows for democratic elections to take place in Armenia.

The mission consists of 26 international election observers from 16 OSCE participating States. In addition to a head office in Yerevan–mission members will also be deployed shortly to major cities in Armenia.

In visiting Armenia’s Central Electoral Commission (CEC)–observers have become acquainted with regulations and will address the issue publishing election outcomes in each precinct in a procedural manner in order to ensure proper counting of votes–and guarantee that the CEC publishes correct election results.

In coming weeks–the mission will further assess the election process against international standards for democratic elections agreed to by all OSCE participating States–as well as national legislation. Observers will monitor the election campaign–including the media–the political campaign–administrative preparations–and the resolution of election disputes.

The OSCE/ODIHR plans to send 250 short-term observers to monitor voting–counting of ballots–and vote tabulation. They will arrive in Armenia’shortly before election day. On the day after the election–the OSCE/ODIHR will issue a statement of preliminary findings and conclusions. A comprehensive final report will be released about a month after the completion of the election process.

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