Long-term electoral assistance for Armenia | EUNewsletter

Long-term electoral assistance for Armenia

10 February 2016
ARS_3736

On 5th February 2016 the European Union (EU) Delegation to Armenia and the Council of Europe launched a new joint project on “Long-term electoral assistance to the election-related stakeholders of Armenia”. The project is funded via a special EU-Council of Europe budget to support Eastern Partnership countries in 2015-2017.
With the project the EU and the Council of Europe will provide technical support to a wide range of Armenian institutions and people involved in organising the elections expected to be held in April 2017. As most electoral support projects, the activities include efforts enhance the transparency and effectiveness of the Central Election Commission and electoral commissions at other levels in line with international standards; to strengthen the capacity of domestic observation teams ; to increase the participation young Armenians who will be first- or second-time voters in the upcoming elections process and finally, but not least to increase the participation of women at all levels of the electoral process with particular attention to their role as voters and candidates.
ARS_3721The Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia, Ambassador Piotr Świtalski, was very direct in his messages at the official launch of the project: ‘The international community, mainly through the observations of the OSCE/ODIHR, has frequently expressed deep concern about the electoral processes in Armenia. There is a strong need to restore confidence and trust in the legitimacy of elections in Armenia. Some people even say that, if Armenia misses the opportunity of the elections in 2017 that will be organised within the new constitutional framework to restore this trust, it will send a bad signal for the further development of Armenia. It is clear that the new Electoral Code will have major implications for the spring 2017 parliamentary elections and Armenia’s future under the new parliamentary system.. However; as a first step, we are looking to the authorities to ensure that the fraud allegations and complaints related the Constitutional Referendum are investigated. There are currently some talks between the EU and the government on possible support for electronic elections but no matter with which system Armenia may wish to proceed, safeguards for free and fair elections need to be strengthened – only installing technical equipment itself is not a guarantee. I believe that this project will strengthen Armenian electoral legislation and create a commitment among political parties to meet international standards and enhance the capacity of the Central Electoral Commission’s members and electoral bodies at all levels’.
ARS_3767Natalia Voutova, Head of the Council of Europe office in Yerevan, thanked the EU for funding the project and summarised its purpose: ‘In light of last year’s Referendum on the new Constitution and the adoption of many new laws, including a new Electoral Code,, it is ever more important to prepare the groundwork for the 2016 local elections and 2017 national elections. One of the objectives of the project is to empower first-time voters in the 2017 elections. According to statistics, there will be over 70,000 new Armenian voters and to encourage their participation, the project will empower them to become active stakeholders in their own and their country’s future. We are looking forward to working with all stakeholders and before closing I would like to share a few wise words shared by James Freeman Clarke: “A politician thinks of the next election. A statesman, of the next generation”.”The election support project activities will include bilateral and multilateral exchanges of national and international experience training of the Central Election Commission, the NGO network for election observation, women politicians, and journalists to increase effectiveness and maximise impact.
The project will run to June 2017 and EU has provided a total of €302,000.

Long-term electoral assistance for Armenia

On 5th February 2016 the European Union (EU) Delegation to Armenia and the Council of Europe launched a new joint project on “Long-term electoral assistance to the election-related stakeholders of Armenia”. The project is funded via a special EU-Council of Europe budget to support Eastern Partnership countries in 2015-2017. With the project the EU and the Council of Europe will provide technical support to a wide range of Armenian institutions and people involved in organising the elections expected to be held in April 2017. As most electoral support projects, the activities include efforts enhance the transparency and effectiveness of the Central Election Commission and electoral commissions at other levels in line with international standards; to strengthen the capacity of domestic observation teams ; to increase the participation young Armenians who will be first- or second-time voters in the upcoming elections process and finally, but not least to increase the participation of women at all levels of the electoral process with particular attention to their role as voters and candidates. ARS_3721The Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia, Ambassador Piotr Świtalski, was very direct in his messages at the official launch of the project: ‘The international community, mainly through the observations of the OSCE/ODIHR, has frequently expressed deep concern about the electoral processes in Armenia. There is a strong need to restore confidence and trust in the legitimacy of elections in Armenia. Some people even say that, if Armenia misses the opportunity of the elections in 2017 that will be organised within the new constitutional framework to restore this trust, it will send a bad signal for the further development of Armenia. It is clear that the new Electoral Code will have major implications for the spring 2017 parliamentary elections and Armenia’s future under the new parliamentary system.. However; as a first step, we are looking to the authorities to ensure that the fraud allegations and complaints related the Constitutional Referendum are investigated. There are currently some talks between the EU and the government on possible support for electronic elections but no matter with which system Armenia may wish to proceed, safeguards for free and fair elections need to be strengthened – only installing technical equipment itself is not a guarantee. I believe that this project will strengthen Armenian electoral legislation and create a commitment among political parties to meet international standards and enhance the capacity of the Central Electoral Commission’s members and electoral bodies at all levels’. ARS_3767Natalia Voutova, Head of the Council of Europe office in Yerevan, thanked the EU for funding the project and summarised its purpose: ‘In light of last year’s Referendum on the new Constitution and the adoption of many new laws, including a new Electoral Code,, it is ever more important to prepare the groundwork for the 2016 local elections and 2017 national elections. One of the objectives of the project is to empower first-time voters in the 2017 elections. According to statistics, there will be over 70,000 new Armenian voters and to encourage their participation, the project will empower them to become active stakeholders in their own and their country’s future. We are looking forward to working with all stakeholders and before closing I would like to share a few wise words shared by James Freeman Clarke: "A politician thinks of the next election. A statesman, of the next generation"."The election support project activities will include bilateral and multilateral exchanges of national and international experience training of the Central Election Commission, the NGO network for election observation, women politicians, and journalists to increase effectiveness and maximise impact. The project will run to June 2017 and EU has provided a total of €302,000.