Armenia’s Democracy Strong, Parliamentary Elections Praised by International Observers
WASHINGTON, D.C. – In a proud moment for the Republic of Armenia, the will of its citizens for a more democratic and transparent government has prevailed in open parliamentary elections, consolidating the previous gains registered during the peaceful protests for change in April this year. The Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly) congratulates Nikol Pashinyan and the citizens of Armenia, and is invigorated by the future in store for the nation.
“Armenians living in Armenia and around the world should take great pride in the country’s successful elections. Since Armenia’s Velvet Revolution began last April, my heart has been full watching Armenians from all walks of life engage politically, make demands of their government, and spur progress towards a truly representative democracy. I look forward to continuing to work with Prime Minister Pashinyan, other Members of Congress, and the Armenian people as we strengthen Armenia’s democracy and our nations’ ties,” Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues Co-Chair Congresswoman Jackie Speier told the Armenian Assembly.
“The past six months have seen an unprecedented political transition in Armenia, and the conduct of a free and fair parliamentary election on December 9 was an exciting and welcome step on the pathway towards an invigorated Armenian democracy. I look forward to working to deepen and strengthen our country’s ties to Armenia – economic, military, and political – and to ensure we provide all appropriate assistance as our friend and ally Armenia navigates towards a bright, democratic future,” Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues Co-Vice Chair Adam Schiff said to the Armenian Assembly.
“There was a remarkable change in Armenia and at the ballot box yesterday. The way Armenia conducts itself going forward has changed, and we have the Armenian citizens and their political will for a fully free, just, and equal nation to thank. Yesterday’s elections marked an important step forward towards establishing a stronger and more robust democratic framework for Armenia, which stands in sharp contrast to the bordering hostile nations of Azerbaijan and Turkey whose governments’ corruption and unjust imprisonment of journalists worsen by the day. Armenia represents hope, and the Armenian Assembly of America will do everything in its capacity to foster this courageous optimism and work with the United States Government to strengthen not only the hope but the prosperity of Armenia,” stated Armenian Assembly Co-Chairs Anthony Barsamian and Van Krikorian.
With initial results released, the United States Embassy to Armenia stated: “Congratulations to the Armenian people on a successful election yesterday!”
“The winners in yesterday’s elections were clearly the people of Armenia, who brought good spirit and energy to this election,” said Peter Osusky, Special Co-ordinator and leader of the short-term Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) observer mission. “Democracy cannot proceed without trust, so I am pleased that broad public trust was the central characteristic of this election. Now that voters have delivered their message, it is up to the political leadership in Armenia to ensure that this momentum is maintained, and further reforms are implemented to fully consolidate the positive assessment we are making today.”
During the press conference, Osusky added that the observers praised the “open atmosphere” during the political campaigns that enabled real substantive debate. “Members of our own team noted with regard to the leaders’ debate held last week that they would like to see similar debates in their own countries,” Osusky said.
“Our assessment of these elections highlights that fundamental freedoms were respected, along with many other positives,” said Ambassador Urszula Gacek, Head of the election observation mission from the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights.
Published in the initial report of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly (OSCE PA), the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) and the European Parliament (EP), observers affirmed that “election day proceeded calmly and free of pressure on or intimidation of voters, and voting, counting, and tabulation were assessed positively by almost all observers.”
“These elections were very well organized, with minimum irregularities and free of pressure on voters. I am very happy that, as a result, public trust in the electoral process was high,” said Heidi Hautala, Head of the delegation from the European Parliament. “We congratulate the Armenian authorities and participants in these elections and encourage the government and the National Assembly to further improve the legislation ahead of future elections.”
According to the preliminary election results released by the Central Election Commission (CEC) of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan’s My Step Alliance won 70.1% of the votes; the Prosperous Armenia Party won 8.2%; and Bright Armenia won 6.3%.
Other parties and blocs running for the elections failed to meet the 5% threshold to make it into the 101-seat National Assembly with the Republican Party (HHK) scoring 4.7%; the ARF-Dashnaktsutyun party with 3.9%; Menk Alliance with 2%; Sasna Tsrer Party with 1.81%; Rule of Law Party with 1%; Citizen’s Decision Party with 0.68%; Christian-Democratic Renaissance Party with 0.5%; and National Progress Party with 0.33% of the votes.
Having won a majority of the seats in parliament, Pashinyan has a strong mandate to continue the path of political and economic reforms ushered in by Armenia’s own Velvet Revolution.
Established in 1972, the Armenian Assembly of America is the largest Washington-based nationwide organization promoting public understanding and awareness of Armenian issues. The Assembly is a non-partisan, 501(c)(3) tax-exempt membership organization.