Democratic thinking

Articles on democracy in the independent online media

December 05, 2005

EU questions commitment to democracy

The European Union has deplored serious irregularities reported during Armenia’s disputed constitutional referendum, saying that they raised fresh questions about the Armenian government’s commitment to democracy.

“The EU is concerned at reports of ballot stuffing and manipulation of the turnout figures and of intimidation of local observers during the referendum held on 27 November. A failure to prevent activities such as this call into question Armenia's commitment to transparency and democracy,” the British embassy in Yerevan said in a weekend statement issued on behalf of the 25-nation union.

The statement cited the preliminary findings of a monitoring mission from the Council of Europe that effectively challenged the official referendum results which led the Armenian authorities to declare their package of constitutional amendments passed. The 14-strong mission noted in particular a striking discrepancy between largely empty polling stations and a record-high voter turnout reported by the government-controlled Central Election Commission. Armenian officials insist that the irregularities were not serious enough to affect the outcome of the vote.

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