Helsinki Citizens' Assembly-Vanadzor

The Civil Contract Party revives the toolkit of the Republican Party of Armenia during the elections of the Yerevan Council of Elders in 2023

September 4, 2023

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Since the launch of the electoral campaign, 11 observers of the Independent Observer Alliance have been conducting observations in all the administrative districts in Yerevan.

The electoral campaign for the elections of the Council of Elders in Yerevan started earlier than the official date, when each of the competing forces decided to participate.

 

Campaigning outside the timeframe of the campaign specified by the Code is not restricted and prohibited. At the same time, the principle of fair elections requires that all the candidates have equal opportunities.

In July, the Independent Observer received information that in several communities, community heads and administrative heads had been instructed to make a list of persons who were registered in Yerevan and would vote for the Civil Contract Party. The Independent Observer Alliance conducted an investigation and published the results. In response, the Civil Contract Party filed a lawsuit against the Union of Informed Citizens NGO, which is a member of the Independent Observer Alliance, claiming to refute the publications and pay a compensation. The Civil Contract Party claimed to levy 1 million AMD as compensation for defamation, 480000 AMD as payment for the advocate and 50000 AMD as a state duty.  A lien of this amount has been imposed on the Organization’s account.

 

The Independent Observer Alliance also examined the proportionality of media coverage funded by public means to assess coverage of the Civil Contract Party candidate Tigran Avinyan before the official launch of the campaign. This study was published a day before the launch of the campaign and clearly shows that during the unregulated time period, public resources were used to provide the initial advantage of the candidate of the ruling force. 

 

According to the information possessed by the Independent Observer Alliance, the pre-electoral fundraising of the Civil Contract Party was implemented with the use of administrative resources. No public statement was made regarding the envisaged fundraising, the participants were given invitation cards. Non-affiliated heads and employees of a number of agencies under the Office of the Prime Minister received the invitation individually and were obliged to participate in the fundraising.

 

In the upcoming elections of the Council of Elders in Yerevan, the administrative resource is completely centralized in the hands of the Civil  Contract Party, which makes a broad use of it. The Civil Contract Party’s electoral list includes all the heads of administrative districts and other community officials who exercise their powers along with the campaign, including in cases when they are formally considered to be on leave.

 

Hate speech filled with all the components of media terror, as well as persecution and violence can be found in the internet broadcasts of the honorary chairman of the “Public voice” party Vardan Ghukasyan in the Facebook pages and other social site platforms of that force.

 

During the observed period, outside the internet, the monopoly on the use of hate speech belongs to “Mother Armenia” Alliance. It becomes obvious during the gatherings and pre-election meetings of the alliance. Most often hate speech is used not by the first candidate of the alliance, but rather by Zaruhi Postanjyan, chairperson of  the “Yerkir Tsirani” party (a member of the alliance) and other party members.

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