Clear Ballot Boxes to Help in Election Transparency

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–A consignment of 2,000 transparent ballot boxes that Western governmen’s hope will complicate possible irregularities in next week’s presidential elections–was shipped to Yerevan on Tuesday and will be distributed to electoral bodies across Armenia in the coming days.

The German-made plastic boxes were officially handed over to the Armenian Central Election Commission by representatives of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe which has deployed the largest Western-led election monitoring mission in Armenia.

"It’s our small contribution to the transparency of the elections," the British head of the OSCE office in Yerevan–Roy Reeve–told the CEC’s deputy chairman–Hamlet Abrahamian.

The CEC agreed to install transparent ballot boxes last week at the urging of the OSCE’s monitoring mission which views them as an additional safeguard against fraud.

The German ambassador to Armenia–Hans Bartels–told reporters that Armenia’s will have greater confidence in the fairness of the electoral process when they go to the polls on February 19. His US counterpart–John Ordway–also stressed the importance of the new ballot boxes.

Ordway also said that the US government will provide $1 million in additional funding for the CEC and other lower-level election commissions. He said the money will be spent on the purchase of telephones–fax machines and other electronic equipment.

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