YEREVAN, February 18./ARKA/. The 18 February election in Armenia represents an improvement compared to previous presidential elections, however, the limited field of candidates meant that the election was not genuinely competitive, according to the post-election statement released today by OSCE Parliamentary Assembly Election Observation Mission.
Tonino Picula, Head of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly election observation mission, said this election showed improvement, but lacked genuine competition. He also added that they were pleased to note progress on several aspects, but competition is critical if Armenia is going to live up to the aspirations of its people for a vibrant and engaging democracy.
There were persistent reports, particularly at local levels, of an unclear distinction between the campaign activities of the incumbent and state structures. These included misuse of administrative resources and pressure on public employees to participate in the election and campaign events.
According to the observers, overall the election was generally conducted in a peaceful manner and was well-administered under an improved legal framework. Freedoms of assembly and expression were generally respected, and media provided balanced coverage.
As in the May 2012 parliamentary elections, the inking of passports did not provide the intended safeguard against multiple voting, as the ink could easily be wiped off, according to the statement.
The observers also stated the candidates who did run were able to campaign in a free atmosphere and to present their views to voters, but the campaign overall failed to engage the public’s interest. The fact that several influential political forces chose not to field candidates in this election seems to have contributed to apathy and a lack of trust among voters.
Incumbent president of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan won 58.64% vote. Total of 1,521,931 or 60.18% of constituency polled. —0-