Sarkisian Lauds OSCE for Objective Election Verdict

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–Prime Minister Serzh Sarkisian thanked observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe on Tuesday for their positive evaluation of his governments handling of Armenia’s parliamentary elections which his Republican Party won. I think that with these elections we solved an important issue, and I agree that a new standard was thereby set for the forthcoming [presidential] elections, he was quoted by his office as telling Boris Frlec, head of the observer mission deployed by the OSCEs Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR). Sarkisian described as impartial and objective the missions preliminary conclusion that the May 12 elections were held largely in accordance with international standards for democratic elections. The Armenian governments press service quoted Frlec as insisting at the meeting with Sarkisian that the elections were a clear step towards progress and expressing hope that the authorities in Yerevan will look into violations reported by his monitors. According to the statement, Frlec also noted that the OSCE mission is still working on its final election report which is expected to be issued next month. He had said at a May 13 news conference that long-term ODIHR observers will specifically compare the CEC tally with vote protocols issued by lower-level election commissions. The ODIHR-led mission has so far refused to comment on the results of the data verification. Its preliminary report said counting of ballots was bad or very bad in about 20 percent of polling stations visited by the foreign observers. Sarkisian said it is extremely important that the observers final findings contain details and be specific. The mission spokesman, Ivan Godarsky, told RFE/RL that Frlec met Sarkisian as part of its courtesy visits to leaders of the main Armenian parties which are aimed at having a better understanding of the post-election situation in the country. Meanwhile, the opposition Heritage party of Raffi Hovannisian said it was ready to cooperate with the pro-government majority in Armenia’s newly elected parliament despite its allegations of massive vote rigging, aides said on Tuesday. Hovsep Khurshudian, the party spokesman, said Heritage is ready to help the Republican Party of Armenia and other parliamentary forces loyal to President Robert Kocharian implement policies that would benefit the public. But he stressed that that is contingent on the acceptance of seven parliament seats allotted won by the party as a result of the May 12 elections.

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