A voter reads her ballot before going to the booth to mark it at a polling station in Arabkir © Onnik Krikorian for EurasiaNet 2007
Waiting for the election results, Onnik Krikoryan writes:
…I was also at the polling station in Noragavit where the polling station was anything but well run, and where the situation was tense. However, all other polling stations appeared calm and well organized compared to past elections.
Going chronological, Life in Armenia writes on the election day, May 12:
Election coverage is a bit primitive still, with Armenia TV doing live coverage. H1, the state station is instead broadcasting the Eurovision contest live.
The elections seem cleaner than in the past in some respects so far… but we’ll know more for sure tomorrow.
“Idiosyncrasies start”, Uzogh writes about the press conference of Stepan Demirchyan, leader of HJK (Armenian Peoples’ Party), in which the blogger underlines the claim by the Press Secretary of the Party, Ruzanna Khachatryan, presented as an example of election forgeries, bringing a list of 30 addresses, in which 20 people are registered at an address where only 8 people are claimed to be alive according to the party representative, while others are dead souls supposedly put into this inflated list to be used as opportunities for vote rigging. However, journalists have noticed, that the name of Lyudmila Ter-Petrossian, the wife of former RA President is also included in the list of people who are dead according to the representative of HJK, wheareas, she is well and alive. Ruzanna Khachatryan has replied, that she “didn’t notice” that name.
Nareg from Life in Armenia, write, having served as an observer to the elections:
I have to say I was terribly impressed, and felt proud, because, before going in as an observer, I was expecting to see the most khaydarag, utterly ridiculous things as usual, and I was even looking forward to a nice fight with the authorities, but things went so smoothly, it was so clean, so just… I mean, I’ve been hearing reports from elsewhere, and the Lord alone knows what we are to expect in the next few weeks in terms of accusations and rallies, but all I know is, I have not lost my faith in the Armenian people and democracy, as I expected I would.
“Armenian elections ‘more white then black'” Blogian writes:
Although pro-government Republicans and Prosperous Armenia party have led the polls, western observers are saying the elections generally met international standards.
Meanwhile, it is not too encouraging (at least for me) to see that an oligarch widely known as “stupid” got to the second place with 15.1 percent votes.
The blogger is also optimistic, concluding with the following paragraph:
I guess we all should be glad that another country in the world is becoming more democratic. Maybe Armenia’s future is much brighter than we think it is.
“The old story repeats again” A1plus blog comments, on the elections, reporting on a case, when the A1plus journalist was forbidden to enter the electoral district after the close of the elections, although according to the new electoral law, the journalists are granted the right to do so, and speculates, that nothing will change in this elections, and everything will flow according to a pre-approved scenario by the ruling elite.
Notes From Hairenik has another elections update, bringing facts and figures in addition to a couple of great posts from the election day, as well as reports of irregularities:
Naturally, there have been reported irregularities, such as last-minute bribes of 15,000 and 25,000 drams issued by the Republicans and Prosperous Armenia, respectively, ballot stuffing at one precinct, and brawls. Apparently in the Nor Nork (Masiv) district of Yerevan, a fight broke out between ARF-Dashnaktsutiun and Republican Party supporters. Both parties accused each other of attempting to rig the vote: supposedly one voter who chose to elect the ARF tried to get into the polling station again to cast a second vote, and Republicans cried foul.
Narjan supports Raffi Hovhannisyan – writing at midnight, that in a number of districts in Yerevan Raffi had was gaining equal votes with those of Republicans and ARF-Dashnaktsutyun. The blogger also found time for humor:
On a live report the journalist read out results, where the number of votes for RPA (Republicans) was more then the number of voters registered at that district.
Is that true? About journalists being allowed into polling stations after the close of the election? In 2003, that certainly wasn’t the case with those accredited to be there for the count having to be in the polling station when the police lock the doors. Or that’s what I seem to recall from back then, the argument being that nobody should be allowed into a polling station when the ballot boxes are opened and the vote is being counted.
Couldn’t get through to CEC to check for sure, but will try again.
Ever wonder why the radical opposition and A1 Plus have lost all credibility in the eyes of anyone with a brain? Here’s exhibit 1:
Hmm, eyes as evidence? Someone said to me the other day that it was reporting like this that probably means we’re well rid of A1 Plus from the TY screens. I won’t go that far, but this is the problem with the opposition media and especially all these reports on electoral falsifications.
Anybody can allege anything. What we all need — including the international observers — is evidence. Until opposition proxies and parties can prove such allegations is it any wonder that the population is fed up with politics and sells its vote to the highest bidder?
Agree re evidence part. Anyone with a brain will understand that using only “eyes” as evidence is far from being considered credible; sometimes it is not even “eyes”, just slogans. However, it is not right to blame media, in this case A1+ for presenting of what members of opposition said. They are doing their job, and A1+ have all my credibility so far; it presents also official position when it comes. So people who read and follow the events can make up their minds. May be they need to make it clear that e.g. this and this evidence was not possible to confirm by other independent sources etc. Politicians are to blame for their empty rhetoric.
Well, I don’t know about that. I still remember A1 Plus reporting Liberty Square being full to capacity for an Impeachment rally when only 700 were there. Fact is that it’s getting very hard to trust many media outlets in Armenia these days.
Unfortunately, A1 Plus has shown itself to be a pro-opposition media outlet rather than an independent one. Yes, I agree, it also posts “official” news, but sometimes its commentary and occasional misinformation means that I have to check multiple sources before I can believe some of its anti-government reporting.
Yes, the pro-government press can be the same, but it’s unfortunate to see that this is happening with A1 Plus as well. You can be oppositional AND report the news based on facts. Anyway, re. Hakobkokhyan, I went to photograph him this evening and I’m sorry, I just don’t see how he would have been elected even without the allegations in the story.
Anyway, I think that one reality the opposition is failing to see is that even without the vote bribes, they had nothing to offer the electorate and the time is now ripe for alternative and new political forces as well as civil society to re-evaluate its position and approach to date. Still, just my opinion. People will agree or disagree. That’s just how I see it.
Well, it is true that A1plus engages too much in sensation hunting and is dangerously non-objective when it comes to covering the opposition.
On the other hand, considering how the government sponsored media are behaving: neglecting the opposition completely, covering everything the government does in a favorable light, I guess A1plus is serving as a balancing factor, and its dominant position in the Armenian internet media market, which is consumed mostly by educated young people and the diaspora, means that is what is demanded in this country.
Well, if only people who demand alternative information get something that is reliable. Being biased is one thing, but misinforming is just as bad as what they say they are fighting against.
Still, it’s Armenia, and the media is lousy whichever way you look at it.
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