YEREVAN (News.am)—Violence is bad and we hope very much that the violence will be prevented and avoided, head of EU delegation to Armenia Piotr Switalski told reporters when asked about the recent shooting in the Jrarat village of Armenia’s Armavir province.
The Ambassador said he hopes that very high emotions would not turn into violence during the election campaign. He emphasized that the emotions are running high during campaign in many countries.
“Big responsibility is on the law enforcement agencies, because as we know from other countries, if violence is not reacted and there is no proper response, it will prompt more violence. So we are paying close attention to the activities of law enforcement agencies, police, investigation committee. I hope they will do their job, it is their responsibility to prevent further axe of violence. So far reports speak about isolated cases which are deplorable, we can only hope that there will be no violence during election campaign,” Switalski said.
When asked whether he had discussed the case with Armenian authorities, the diplomat said “We have not discussed at a political level, we leave it to the law enforcement agencies. We discussed it at a technical level, as EU has a special election adviser. She is in daily contact with police and law enforcement agencies, this is how we monitor it.”
Switalski said Brussels is very worried over violence in Armenia.
“We have witnessed in other countries that violence has a snowball effect. We are monitoring the situation, examining what law enforcement and police are doing. We understand that some people were detained and an investigation has been initiated,” he added.
Asked whether he is aware of the involvement of one of high police officials and his family in the case of violence, the diplomat assured that he knows everything.
“We know everything, almost everything, because in our involvement in preparation of the elections, we have to examine every signal. Yesterday, I spent the whole day discussing elections in Armenia. We are very serious. Never before the has the EU paid so much attention to an election campaign. We are doing it not by our own initiative. We were invited to help, we did not impose ourselves,” he added,
The shooting in the village occurred between the Republican Party of Armenia and opposition Ohanyan-Raffi-Oskanian alliance.
Switalski during the interviews addressed five points to Armenian voters:
1. Go and vote. I know many Armenians don’t have the confidence that their vote can count. The have some bad experience from the past, but I want to say openly that his time we’ll do everything so that your vote will count, so go and vote
2. Believe strongly that your vote will be secret and anonymous. There is nothing in the new technology – in the voter identification and the cameras – which will disclose your choice. Don’t believe people who are telling you they will find out how you voted. It is not possible.
3. Don’t be exposed to the temptation of selling your vote. You may be approached by people who will be offering you money, services, promises in exchange for your vote. There is no money in the world that can be worth selling your vote.
4. Be brave, don’t be intimidated. You may be exposed to threats, even to violence. These elections will decide your future.
5. If you see something wrong, don’t be afraid to speak up. Approach the law enforcement agencies, even if you don’t believe they will take resolute action. That is their duty.”
The full interview can be watched below.