YEREVAN, March 4. /ARKA/. The main broadcast media, including public television H1, showed a selective approach in their coverage of post-election events, with a noticeable tendency to limit views critical of the conduct of the election, according to the OSCE/ODIHR post-election interim report.
According to the final results of the elections, Armenia’s incumbent president Serzh Sargsyan won re-election Monday with 861,378 votes or 58.64%. Raffi Hovannisian, Heritage party leader, stayed behind with 36.74% of vote. However, Hovannisian didn’t recognize the results and declared on “Barevolution” (revolution of greetings). Since February 20, Hovannisian’s supporters have been organizing rallies and protests in Yerevan and provinces of the country.
“All media monitored by the OSCE/ODIHR EOM regularly covered gatherings and rallies organized by Mr. Hovannisian; however, H1, Shant and Armenia TV often presented only general and at times superficial coverage of the protests, while repeatedly stating that the rallies were not authorized, and airing a statement by the police to this extent.”
On the other hand, a number of online media as well as Radio Azatutyun and public radio offered diverse views and more balanced reporting, the observers said.
An OSCE/ODIHR EOM analysis of final results as published by the CEC shows a close correlation between the voter turnout and the number of votes for the incumbent, with PECs with above-average turnout also having a higher share of votes for Mr. Sargsyan.
“Out of the 1,988 polling stations, 1,746 have 300 or more registered voters.10 In 144 of those, voter turnout exceeded 80 per cent, which seems implausibly high; the incumbent received above 80 per cent of the votes cast in 115 of these stations. In 198 out of the 303 stations where turnout was between 70 and 80 per cent, the incumbent received more than 70 per cent of the votes. Among 249 stations where turnout was below 50 per cent, Mr.
Sargsyan received more than 50 per cent in 40, and Mr. Hovannisian received more than 50 per cent in 155. The tendency of higher results for the incumbent observed at the majority of stations with high turnout raises concerns regarding the confidence over the integrity of the electoral process.”
Earlier at a news conference on the next day after the elections Head of OSCE/ODIHR Mission Heidi Tagliavini said the violations detected during the election could not change the final outcome.
International observers assessed the elections positively overall calling them democratic and legitimate, however referring to some infringements. -0-