666th Meeting of the Permanent CouncilThe International Election Observation Mission to the 12 May parliamentary elections in Armenia concluded that the elections “demonstrated improvement and were conducted largely in accordance with OSCE and Council of Europe commitments and other international standards for democratic elections.” The EU welcomes this preliminary conclusion.
We commend the Armenian authorities on the steps taken to address previous shortcomings, including considerably improving the Election Code, and providing for training of election officials. The election authorities generally worked efficiently in the pre-election period, and were technically well equipped and prepared on election day. We also welcome the fact that there was visible and dynamic campaigning by many candidates in a largely permissive environment with extensive media coverage of the election.
The International Election Observation Mission also reported, however, cases of fraud schemes and problems during the count and tabulation of the votes. This led the Mission to conclude that Armenia had been unable to deliver a performance fully consistent with their stated intention that the election would meet international standards. We remind Armenia that the election process is not over yet and that matters such as ensuring the efficient and transparent follow-up to complaints will still require attention in the post-election period.
We encourage Armenia to consolidate further and build on the progress made, working for example, to fill the remaining gaps in the regulatory framework and fully implement existing provisions, to ensure the balanced composition of election commission troikas, and to disentangle political and business interests at all levels. In view of the Presidential elections in 2008, we urge all political forces to work with OSCE/ODIHR on addressing the recommendations contained in their final report when it issues.
The European Union regards the improved conduct of the elections as an indication of Armenia’s commitment to the values that underpin the European Neighbourhood Policy. We look forward to intensifying our cooperation on the basis of this commitment, and are confident that with continued political will, we will see further strengthening of the electoral process and of democracy in Armenia.
Finally Mr Chairman, the EU welcomes the active and significant participation of the Russian Federation in this election observation mission. Moreover, we were pleased to see the good and effective cooperation between OSCE/ODIHR, the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and the European Parliament. This sets an example for cooperation in upcoming election observation missions.
The Candidate Countries Turkey, Croatia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Serbia, EFTA countries Iceland and Norway, members of the European Economic Area, as well as Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova align themselves with this statement.
* Croatia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.