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A package of proposals ahead of the elections of the Council of Elders in Yerevan

May 18, 2023

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Elections of the Council of Elders are to be held in September-October 2023 in Yerevan. Formation of the local government of the capital city is a serious political event in the RA. Despite the continuous changes in legislation and the reform of the practice of elections in general over recent years, a number of factors can impede compliance of the forthcoming elections with high standards of democracy.


In particular, we should mention the insufficient legislative regulations regarding prevention of abuse of administrative resources and the condition that integrity norms have not been formed, which allows a candidate entitled to powers to use the administrative resources of that local government, as well as the whole state for his campaign goals, and have a disproportionate advantage over his competitors. The Independent Observer Alliance recorded this situation during local elections of 2021-2023 in various communities of the RA  and is witnessing it in the context of the elections of Yerevan city yet to be held.


Taking into account the importance of electoral processes in terms of well-establishment of democracy in Armenia and attaching importance to continuous improvement of electoral legislation, the Independent Observer Alliance puts forth a number of proposals to be examined by the public and the competent bodies.


  1. According to part 2 of Article 130 of the RA Electoral Code, during the Council of Elders elections, the lists of parties and alliances shall have at least 70% of members of that party or parties member to the Alliance.


As a result of comparing lists of candidates nominated for the elections of 2021-2023, it turned out that in the frame of new elections in the same community (such as Talin, Ani, Sisian, Vedi), some candidates are included in lists of different parties and alliances as members of different parties.


The Independent Observer Alliance recommends the Central Electoral Commission to change the exemplary form of documents required to register electoral lists and include information on whether the candidate is a member to that party or one of the parties.


  1. The Electoral Code establishes criteria based on which  the polling station and the voting room shall be chosen. In particular, the Central Electoral Commission establishes additional requirements of access to and lighting of the polling station and the voting room, and unhindered work of the commission. 

During 2022-2023, results of the elections of the local government indicate that as a rule, the information published in the CEC website  does not correspond to the factual situation in polling stations and voting rooms. Essentially, that information is not correct, as a result of which, the right of voters with mobility problems may be compromised. 

The RA Central Electoral Commission should take additional measures and publish photos showing the situation of the polling stations, check information about it through TECs, provide the relevant information to precinct electoral commissions regarding the furnishing of the voting room, as well as provide Braille templates and magnifying lenses for persons with vision impairment. 


  1. Article 20.1 of the Electoral Code regulates election campaign on the internet. Campaign restrictions also apply to the internet.

At the same time, during the local government elections, there were many cases when official and personal pages of candidates or parties disseminated paid ads and other campaign-related publications the day before the voting (silence period) and on the voting day by thus violating the prohibition established by the Electoral Code.

The Central Electoral Commission should specify which body (with which toolkit) shall monitor electoral campaigns on the internet and assess equality, and clarify how they shall ensure prohibition of campaign during the silence period and on the voting day.



  1. According to the amendments made to the RA Law on Parties in 2020, there are certain structural and procedural requirements with respect to political parties. These requirements intend to establish a foundation to guarantee the internal democracy of the parties and the minimum threshold for equal representation. 


In particular, they are as follows: 

  • Establishing the procedure for nomination and involvement of candidates in the proportional elections;
  • Encouraging representation of both sexes in the governing body;
  • More frequent organization of assemblies and an opportunity for members to initiate an assembly;
  • In case of regular elections, approval of the first 30 candidates of the electoral list by the assembly, etc.


The Law on Parties does not restrict the activity of parties in case of not meeting those requirements, however, according to the Electoral Code, non-compliance of the Charter with the Law on Parties is a basis to refuse to register a party, alliance or candidate.


The RA Ministry of Justice should inform the parties registered in the RA, as soon as possible, about the new requirements of the Law on Parties, and register amended charters.


  1. The Electoral Code establishes who cannot be a proxy, but does not regulate as to how a person with another status in electoral processes shall be excluded from acting as a proxy.


The RA Ministry of Justice should include in their draft Electoral Code the requirement of presenting the lists of proxies to the CEC.


  1. In 2023, it is planned to video record the voting room during the local government elections and have it available on the internet before the official results of the elections are published. It is also planned to video record TEC territories during sessions.


Both changes are expected and welcome. At the same time, the Government’s decree regarding the allocating means for video recording voting rooms on 26 March 2023 does not clearly specify the expenses covered by the allocated amount of money and it can be concluded from the general data that AMD  48 068 561 has been allocated for video recording and broadcasting 61 voting rooms, which means that AMD 700 000 has been allocated for each voting room. Noteworthy, that money does not include the expense for the camera, as it is provided by the Government.


Taking into account that there are 475 polling stations in Yerevan, their live broadcast can cost 8 times more than the above-mentioned amount.


The RA Government should publish detailed information regarding the amount of money required on each service line, and attach the detailed quotation submitted by the organization to the published decision. 

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