Armenian Parliamentary Elections 2007 – Election Day Blog Roundup

I know the quality is horrible. But I just didn't feel like asking him to pose (:Unlike other major events taking place in Armenia, bloggers were surprisingly passive on the election day: Kornelij Glas, Echannel Blogs and Tirami su (all the lovely photos used in this post are hers) were the first to break the silence. Echannel Blogs was by far the most active, however, as I’m directly involved in it, I’ll avoid mentioning this blog any further. Following the post about on-line resources providing real-time information about the elections, Kornelij Glas posted on his own election:

Went to the elections, put some smilies, because there was no point for voting ‘against all’.
Had to wait about 10 minutes in the queue before voting. The ballot boxes were half full. Everything quiet and peaceful. Its always like this in our district – this is after all the very center of the city.

Tadaa. Hopefully your vote counts.Following this post the blogger went on posting links to sources reporting on electoral fraud, and concluded his day of blogging with announcing the conclusion of the first day, with 59% of voters taking part in the elections. Considering speculations of voter apathy and predictions of low voter turnout voiced by various experts throughout the pre-elections campaign, this looks like a major activity.
Notes From Hairenik was “Running around on eleciton day“, which was followed by an elections update with figures as of 8:00 pm:

I just came back home from a day roaming between polling stations throughout Yerevan for the National Assembly (Parliament) elections.
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There were anywhere between 1400 and 1900 registered voters in the locations I went to, and a list of all voters was placed somewhere in the school lobby usually on the walls to ensure that people can read them easily, with the exception of the Noragavit polling station, where the list was posted on the school lobby window, but to enter the lobby you had to climb about 12 stairs and thus trying to read the list from the sidewalk was impossible…
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For the most part I did not notice anything unusual at any of the places that I visited. [] There was one incident in Noragavit whereby a photojournalist’s credentials were refused by local election officials and he was temporarily unable to work until a phone call to the Central Election Commission main office was made to straighten the situation out. And people waiting to register themselves and receive ballots were also generally disorderly there, sometimes shouting, with no obvious voters’ line. In each of the stations two ballot boxes were in plain view side by side. Each voter who registered his or her passport number with the election officials was given two ballots—one for the majoritarian list and the other for the proportional candidates. The voters then had to insert the ballots in their respective envelopes, then they carried them to the ballot boxes, where they were stamped by an official and inserted into the respective container.

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There are some reports of alleged funny business as well as fights breaking out at polling stations. But nothing can be proved as of yet, with the exception of the situation I personally witnessed in Noragavit…

Having just come back from voting, Narjan urges everybody to “hear him loud and clear” – and go to the polling stations and vote, because “this government and this situation are not eternal”.
As of 18:00, May 12th Aramazd is making some observations (the original post is in English, so for the full-subjective text of observations Aramazd please visit his blog):

1. People are really active: I guess around 20:00 the actual percentage will reach 80%. []
2. The opposition parties, both the “so called” ones, as well as the real ones, are very poorly organized in their efforts to monitor the electons process. The best among the parties are: Heritage and Impeachment.
3. Heritage party and Impeachment bloc are the leaders of the voting in Yerevan, according to an exit poll conducted by Radio Hai through SMS.[]
4. So far, so good…

Speaking of the Radio “Hay” radiostation’s SMS voting also mentioned above ALS Movement is spreading misleading information (although Kronstadt is honest in specifying how exactly he counts the votes by adding the “Republic” party and “New Times” party votes to those of Impeachment :)), , saying that “Impeachment” block won it with 137 votes, with “”Haritage” coming second with 127. This SMS poll of course cannot be considered as indicative of the real elections.

7 thoughts on “Armenian Parliamentary Elections 2007 – Election Day Blog Roundup

  1. Reply
    kronstadt - 13.05.2007

    Observer,
    of course I appreciate and thank you for your thankless effort in reviewing the Armenian blogosphere on a daily basis, which is obviously a HUGE task. But it is also a task that requires remaining impartial and non-judgemental, which I understand is not the easiest of positions to be in (because it is a position that demands responsibility). You have accused me of deliberately “spreading misleading information” (which is another way of saying that I’m a liar) — the information that I quote is featured on many websites like Mediamax http://www.elections2007.am and also A1+ and many others. It is a type of information that is treated as official, because it was the closest thing that Armenia had to exit-polls, albeit the very fact that exit-polls have been replaced by SMS-polls and were treated as near-official indicators, in itself speaks volumes and makes elections 2007 a laughing stock.
    You also say that “This SMS poll of course cannot be considered as indicative of the real elections”, while many social scientists and statisticians would argue that a sample of 600 could be treated as a good enough indicator with 4% margin for error. It seems to me that you have missed the sarcasm and satire of my posting which highlights the fact that the results of the statistical data closest to official exit-polls (which has also been quoted as nearest to being “official”) stands in direct contradiction to the election results announced later by CEC.
    After you said that I have been “spreading” disinformation, you then say that I am “honest in specifying how exactly” I arrived at placing “Impeachment” block at No1 place, rather then at No2 place after “Heritage”. To say that I am “spreading misleading information” and then to say that I’m “honest” is a contradiction, rather then an elaboration.
    I am not going to ask you to amend the wording in your post, as I’m sure you are busy enough on day like this (although if you choose to do that later on, that would be apreciated…). I am just going to write this brief response so that the readers will be clear. Readers can also view the post at http://azat.wordpress.com

  2. Reply

    […] like, Notes from Hairenik for the election results, Armenian Blog Review for an election summary here, mentioning: Unlike other major events taking place in Armenia, bloggers were surprisingly passive […]

  3. Reply
    Onnik Krikorian - 14.05.2007

    The SMS poll is just funny because it’s definitely not indicative of the support Impeachment have. They are a small political grouping that has no real support in the country and who cannot offer anyone anything other than screams of “Im-peach-ment.”
    Anyway, polls should be random and well distributed — not limited to a particular audience or group of people. Besides, what’s to stop one person who supports Impeachment tellign their fellow supporters to sms in? This is the problem.
    Of course, the Republican Party vote appears grossly inflated and I’m sure people suspect this was through vote buying, but I don’t think that Impeachment can say that they cleared the five percent threshold for entering parliament on the proportional system.
    Anyway.

  4. Reply

    […] Incidentally, the Republican party held a private party to celebrate their victory and I was in the area. Even though it was still daytime, they launched fireworks into the air startling local residents and seemed very happy indeed. I got there as Armen Gevorgyan from the President’s Staff was leaving and just before Serzh left. I’ll post some photos when I get the chance. Meanwhile, the Armenian Blog Review has quotes from, and links to, other posts dealing with the election. […]

  5. Reply
    Vrej Armenyan - 17.05.2007

    The most appaling part in this election saga was the assessment of international observers. Prostitutes is the proper name for them. That the ruling geghaci karabakhi klan gives no damn to the needs of Armenia’s people is somehow understandavle: after all, they weren’t born or raised in Armenia to be sensitive towards the aspirations of Armenians. But for the “civilized” Europeans or “liberiatrian” Americans to state that this election–scarred with widespread vote-rigging, vote-byuing, and voter registries-manipulation–was closer to international standards is to make an explicit mockery of those standards. In this election, international observers, too, gave no damn to Armenian people’s feelings and instead followed some covert political agenda. God be with us!

  6. Reply
    Onnik Krikorian - 18.05.2007

    Domestic observers such as the reputable It’s Your Choice organization agreed with their international counterparts.

    Armenia’s largest vote-monitoring organization echoed on Monday international observers’ largely positive verdict on Saturday’s parliamentary elections which it said were more democratic than the previous ones.
    The non-governmental organization It’s Your Choice (IYC) monitored the election campaign and deployed about 4,000 observers in most of the polling stations across the country on voting day.
    “These elections were better and took place in a more civilized atmosphere than the past elections,” the IYC chairman, Harutiun Hambartsumian, told RFE/RL, presenting their preliminary findings. “Of course, there were shortcomings, violations. But there was a clear improvement.”
    Hambartsumian said the Armenian authorities failed to create a level playing field for all major contenders and used their control of election commissions and other “government resources” to retain a comfortable majority in the National Assembly. He said IYC observers did not witness instances of vote buying which opposition parties claim were widespread. But he said they did see busloads of people transported to polling stations.
    “There was busing of individuals to polling stations that became overcrowded, complicating the voting process,” Hambartsumian said. “Besides, our observers saw ballot stuffing attempts in a number of polling stations. There were also instances of multiple voting.”
    “Since those violations were not widespread, they could not have affected election results,” he added.

  7. Reply
    Armenian Council of America - 31.05.2007

    ACA LETTER OF PROTEST TO OSCE
    [11:46 am] 31 May, 2007
    Armenian Council of America appealed Miguel Angel Moratinos, OSCE Chairman in Office, with a letter of protest on the 12 May parliamentary elections in Armenia.
    The letter says: “We are writing to you to express our disappointment with your initial report about the May 12th parliamentary elections in Armenia.
    Your initial report stated that the elections were held in accordance to international standards, yet, it goes on to say that many violations were observed where fake identification cards were used or votes cast to small parties were placed on the batches of pro-government parties, etc.
    It has now become more evident that the reported violations were on a much larger scale and more frequent, casting serious doubts on the whole process.
    Your post-election interim report even stated that “In 35 percent of the 108 polling stations where counting was observed, the PEC (precinct election commission) members had difficulties completing the results protocols,” and added that those protocols were “filled out incompletely or incorrectly.”
    The favorable tone in your preliminary assessment is at the very least troubling and bewildering to not only the population of Armenia, but also the Diaspora Armenians, whose only wish is to see a prosperous and democratic Armenia where the rule of law prevails and its citizen’s basic rights are respected. In that regard, your report was an outright blow to the dignity and the aspirations of the Armenian people who once again were deprived of their right to elect their representatives in a free and transparent manner. By lowering the bar, you have given the government of Armenia the green light to continue falsifying election results with impunity and ignore the will of its own people.
    Your initial report did not even consider the fact that in the newly elected Parliament the opposition will hold less than 20 seats out of 131. This by itself should have been sufficient to raise doubts about the outcome of the elections. All records show that in no country, where majority of the population lives below poverty level, the ruling parties can get such an overwhelming mandate.
    We believe that the citizens of Armenia are entitled to fair and transparent elections that would produce an electoral body that truly represents the people’s will. We also believe that your organization plays a vital role in promoting democratic principles and values in countries such as Armenia. Consequently, any assessment made by your organization is immensely important not only for those who are truly striving for democracy, but also for those who since the famously rigged 2003 parliamentary elections were busy developing new and sophisticated mechanisms of election fraud. It is our sincere hope that your final report will not be politically driven but rather be much more comprehensive and reflective of the facts”.

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