The European Network of Election Monitoring Organizations (ENEMO) strongly condemns the decision of the Central Electoral Commission (CEC) of the Republic of Armenia to deny ENEMO an official invitation to observe the upcoming Parliamentary Elections in Armenia.
ENEMO received a letter (#01-272) from the CEC in response to ENEMO’s request of invitation to conduct an international election observation mission for the April 2, 2017 elections. The letter states a possible “congestion” at the polling stations due to high interest from various organizations to deploy observers during the elections. The CEC also explains that the international organizations such as OSCE/ODIHR, OSCE PA, PACE, European Parliament and CIS Inter-Parliamentary Assembly are invited to observe and alleges that “there is no need to invite an additional observation missions (sic)”. ENEMO is aware that other international organizations have also been denied an invitation on similar grounds.
The CEC decision is against paragraph 8 of the 1990 Copenhagen Document and other OSCE Commitments of the Republic of Armenia. ENEMO believes that restricting international observation does not serve to enhance public confidence in the electoral process in Armenia and undermines transparency of the upcoming elections.
ENEMO believes that the CEC is not in the position to determine the sufficient level of observation efforts and it is the CEC’s responsibility to ensure the management of the electoral process in a way that allows all interested observers carry out their work unimpeded according to the international standards to the extent permitted by law. Election observation by independent observers and impartial civic groups such as ENEMO serve an important role in any democratic process. Restricting international observation by non-governmental networks and allowing observation from only intergovernmental organizations can in no way be sufficient to ensure confidence in the electoral process.
ENEMO calls on the authorities in the Republic of Armenia to ensure that the interest from domestic and international observer organizations to deploy election observation missions are welcome in future. ENEMO appeals international organizations, such as OSCE, Council of Europe, European Union, and governments of OSCE member states to condemn the denial of invitation for independent and impartial observers in Armenia.