Black Sunday: Fraud at Armenia Referendum

Falsifications and violations of the electoral code were reported as Armenians headed to the polling stations on Sunday voting on either a semi-presidential or parliamentary republic in a referendum.

Opposition representatives of electoral committees, as well as opposition proxies and foreign and local observers, witnessed violations and attacks at the polling stations. Several journalists exposed election fraud, while reporting they faced obstacles entering polling stations.Most reported ‘stolen’ votes against the change in constitution and falsifying of the final protocols as main violations.

Georgia Today’s own correspondent in Armenia, witnessed election fraud at the 4/20 polling station. The head of the electoral committee violated the regulations, by taking the ballot box and disappearing in an unknown direction for 1 hour and 50 minutes before reaching the Arabkir administrative election committee. Four out of eight signatures were missing in the protocol. The representative of Armenian National Congress opposition party of the polling station stated the ballots were stolen by the chairman of the committee. She further claimed she was not given an opportunity to sign the protocol and report on the serious violations which took place place during the voting and vote count.

The observation mission of the European Platform of Democratic Elections (EPDE) said during a press conference they deemed the elections unfair: "Due to the high number of electoral violations and crime, including intimidation of voters, falsification of protocols and numerous reports on ballot box stuffing, Citizen Observer Initiative and the European Platform for Democratic Elections believe that the Referendum results do not reflect the free will of Armenian citizens and should not be considered to be legitimate".

The parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) criticized the referendum as well, stating that " the inaccuracy of the voting lists containing the names of many people residing permanently abroad or even deceased, leading to claims that these identities were usurped by people who then voted several times"

The chairman of the United headquarters of NO, opposition MP Levon Zurabian, said the government falsified over 500 000 votes to win the referendum.

According to the official results, represented by the Central Election Committee of Armenia, around 63.35% of residents voted for the parliamentary republic, while the 32.35% of residents voted against it.

However, political activists and bloggers are calling for opposition rallies to oppose the constitutional change, which is believed to guarantee the everlasting rule of the current president and the ruling republican party.

Karen Tovmasyan
07 December 2015 19:25