Yerevan Elections: “A well administered ballot but a historically low turnout”, concluded Carla Dejonghe

Yerevan Elections: “A well administered ballot but a historically low turnout”, concluded Carla Dejonghe

25 10 2023 25 10 2023

The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe adopted a report on the elections of the Council of Elders of the City of Yerevan, in Armenia held on 17 September 2023 during its 45th session in Strasbourg. On election day, the Congress delegation was deployed to all districts of Yerevan and visited around 112 polling stations to observe election procedures.

Carla Dejonghe (Belgium, ILDG), Rapporteur, expressed the delegation’s satisfaction with the professional manner in which the opening, voting and counting procedures were handled in the visited polling stations. “We were satisfied to see some of our recommendations being addressed on the ground and welcomed the wide acceptance of the results by all contestants”, she stated.

The Congress welcomed a peaceful and well-managed election day and highlighted the important efforts undertaken by the CEC to reduce the possibility of fraud and to reinforce the trust of voters in electoral processes. These included the seamless use of voter identification devices and video cameras, as well as the introduction of separate ballot papers and dedicated training for polling station chairpersons.

However, the Congress report also identified some issues which would require further efforts, notably on the accessibility of polling stations and on the introduction of mobile ballot boxes in local elections. In addition, the Congress recommended providing incentives to curb the underrepresentation of women as head of candidates list and introducing legal provisions to allow independent candidates to run in local elections.

Furthermore, the Congress regretted the historically low turnout and that many lists did not provide voters with programmes based on local priorities and in line with the competencies of the Council of Elders of Yerevan.

Finally, “we invite the authorities to give strong consideration to the establishment of a unified election day at local level to further raise the voters’ awareness on local democracy”, concluded Ms Dejonghe.