Summary of the observation mission of the Artsakh general elections

Based on the results of the observation mission of the General Elections held in the Republic of Artsakh, which I carried out as a short-term observer from the “Media Advocate” initiative, I can confidently state and summarize the following:

  1. These nationwide elections have been unprecedented in many of their manifestations and have become a real challenge for the people of Artsakh and its system of government, as well as in terms of life support and security systems.
  2. Not all challenges were successfully managed, and not all problems were overcome by Artsakh. In this case we are not talking only about state structures, but about all components of society, such as civil society, media, political parties, citizens. Everyone should contribute to the construction of the future and the system of that example, which will be consistent with the efforts made.
  3. The role of Armenia, its government and institutions should not be overestimated and should be regularly corrected and improved in order to comply with the main principle; DO NOT HARM. However, this should not lead to criminal inaction and/or blackmail and direct interference into Artsakh affairs.
  4. Strict compliance with the law and strict adherence to the procedures and not only, legitimizes the election process itself, but also gives confidence and ability to make decisions to all its participants at all levels of the electoral system, starting from an observer to a member of the commission and the Central Electoral Commission.
  5. In the pre-epidemiological situation, the adoption of half measures and the absence of “Plan B” can play a cruel joke with both the ordinary citizen-voter and the entire state machine. By “plan B” is meant the development of various scenarios and actions in case of this or that unexpected situation.
  6. Respect for the law and the RIGHTS of their fellow citizens for their own opinion and choice different from yours, the point of view and ways of its implementation, verification and declaration of the rule of law and its equal power for all actors of the political field and the electoral process.
  7. Alienation and rejection of separation and discrimination on the political principle, condemnation and punishment of terrorist threats and methods of violent dictatorship of will, bypassing legal and free expression of will is unacceptable.
  8. Increasing the role and educational level of their own media, observation organizations and citizens at large, by means of public awareness campaigns and informative trainings. Transmission of experience from foreign/Armenian colleagues and organizations.
  9. Conducting a full retraining and training course with members of the commissions and probable proxies from candidates and parties.
  10. Forces of law and order (Law Enforcement)

So let’s pass, from the recommendatory component to the factual one.

These elections showed the imperfection and unprofessionalism of the employees of election commissions who were not ready for the challenges of holding a general election on the very same day. To conclude, there is a need to change something.

Local observers, journalists, proxies did not fully understand the importance and necessity of their presence in the polling stations and were mainly wasting their time and/or were busy with fussy fault-finding and doing dirty tricks from boredom.

Observers from Armenia;. Here one may make a clear distinction:

The observers from the state structures of Armenia played the role of walking talking heads and transmitters of the “wishes and hopes” of the ruling regime.

Independent observers, were VERY FEW, and with rare exceptions, their behavior was not much different from the behavior of local colleagues.

The observers “on a budget leak,” were the majority, at least quantitatively, which is not surprising.  Plenty of money was allocated from the budget bypassing the procedures, hotels were booked for them and transportation was provided. Qualitatively, almost all participants in the process spoke about them sharing the main opinion, that is the main characteristic of their almost one-day stay in the polling stations  was – “la’andi lrvats” (meaning doing nothing; without lifting a finger).

Foreign observers; either there were not any or there was one or two.

Law enforcement bodies  do not know how and do not want to learn how to work according to the law, but wake up after a “magic kick” and in the face of the inevitability and inexorability of the law and actions, in a similar situation they remind and correspond to this particular scenario. Your humble servant, was informed yesterday that on several facts voiced by me in lives and proved by photo evidence, an investigation has been launched and is being conducted by criminal police, that is, a criminal proceeding will be anyway. I just want to exclaim “guys, I warned you” and shake my head in the direction of the commissions and some voters who did not listen to my advice and remarks.

The funny fact is that, in the realities of quarantine, the investigator had to master “new” methods of inquiry and collection of information, knock on the Facebook doors and ask for a call. Screenshots of chats are saved just in case. The investigator was not lurking long and asked to go to Stepanakert to testify and explain the case to which I agreed and showed willingness and zeal, in case of certain conditions:

– transportation of my body back and forth comfortably through all checkpoints

– accommodation and meals included

– provision of daily subsistence allowance for two days of skipping

They refused and said they will explore lives and comments further until I arrive on the second round.

The rest, that is the forecasts and the action plan, as well as the roadmap will be provided by me after confirmation of the second round scheduled on April 14 of this year and in case of our participation in them.


Sergey Chamanyan