U.S. slams Armenian by-elections amid raging indifference of voters

The U.S. Embassy in Yerevan on Thursday denounced as fraudulent a weekend by-election to Armenia’s parliament and urged the authorities to prosecute those responsible for “numerous irregularities” witnessed by American and local observers, RFE/RL Armenian service reports. “Embassy observers found numerous irregularities, including intimidation of voters, verbal and physical threats directed at journalists and observers, and in some cases the presence of uncredentialled, non-voting individuals sympathetic to the National Unity Party candidate, who appeared to be managing the electoral process in lieu of the authorized members of the local electoral commissions,” the embassy spokesman, Thomas Mittnacht, told RFE/RL.
It’s easy to guess, that the U.S. Embassy’s statement will be reflected in various reports and ratings of Armenia, published by international watchdogs like Freedom House, Transparency, Amnesty, etc., which on their turn impact the indicators used to measuring Armenia’s availability for loans, international assistance.
In 2009 Armenia was forced to borrow around $1,5 billion US to pull its struggling economy through the global economic crisis, and plans to borrow as much as 1,5 billion more in the coming year or two, mostly coming from ‘conditional’ funding sources like the IMF and World Bank.
Meanwhile, indifference rules among Armenian voters. They don’t care. The turnout of the elections was one of the lowest I remember in Yerevan – only 24%. Practically everybody I talked to knew nothing about the elections, and didn’t care either.
Ironic? Strange? Stupid? I don’t know…

Artur Papyan

Journalist, blogger, digital security and media consultant