Elections of Mayor of Yerevan of May 31, 2009
There were “Gazel” mini buses on the street Arshakunyats, nearby supermarket “SAS” since morning. The employees of supermarket “SAS” should be taken to different polling stations of Yerevan in order to vote. Besides, each of the employees had to submit the names of at least 40 people.
According to Alita Sargsyan, a proxy of the Armenian National Congress (ANC) who was in polling station No. 7/5, people were brought there by cars, she underwent pressure, consequently, she was not able to carry out her functions.
An observer of “Paros” Association working in the polling station No. 1/1 of Avan district helped the electors, instructed them where to put a mark on the ballots. The observer mainly helped the old people.
In the polling station No. 3/23 of Zeytun district, a person signed instead of 2 persons, but got only one ballot. The commission did not took any measures regarding this very fact.
In the polling station No. 13/09 of Erebuni district the position of tables did not allow to control the passport checking process. Arman Veziryan, the observer representing Helsinki Association demanded the head of the electoral commission to rearrange the tables, but he received the following answer to his demand: “Even if we rearrange the tables, I won’t allow any observer to control the passport checking process”. There were 30 persons who were continually entering the room, they were going to the polling booths and were instructing them. The voting was not secret. A case was recorded when a person had 2 ballots with him. The activities of journalists and observers were hindered in the polling station No. 13/09. Arman Veziryan, the observer of Helsinki Association was told that they would take his camera and would break it, moreover he would not return home at all. The head of the commission only said that they could do anything, only in the distance of 50 meters away from the polling station.
Since 19:50 people were brought there by cars. By the end of the voting process the members of the commission and proxies have been voting for several times.
In the polling station No. 13/35 of Erebuni district the commission staff hindered Gegham Melkonyan, an observer representing Helsinki Association to carry out his duties. The head of the commission did not allow him to do video recording. At 10:20 the observer witnessed several ballot stubs which were already cut. Since morning till 19:45 people were brought to the polling stations by No. 75 mini buses. One of the observers representing the Republican Party of Armenia (RPA) commented it saying that those people lived in a distance place and their party just did them a favour and provided them with a means of transport. Cases of impartiality were also recorded: when valid ballots were announced to be invalid ones (to the detriment of the Armenian National Part) and some invalid ballots were announced to be valid (for benefit of the Republican Party of Armenia).
The head of the commission of polling station No. 8/27 of Malatia-Sebastia district Samvel Khanyan hindered the entrance to the polling station of Mikael Danielyan, the chairman of Helsinki Association and observers representing the same organization. They told the observers, “This is our sector; we know for whom the people cast their votes. Do not trouble us”.
Another person came up to M. Danielyan and told him the following: “Leave the polling station in order not to face problems”. Anzhela Harutyunyan, an observer representing the Helsinki Civic Assembly, who knows M. Danielyan very well, refused to comment the situation as she was very threatened.
The ballot stubs were already cut and ready before the polling station was open.
Irina Hovhannisyan, the journalist for “Azatutyun” radio station was hindered to carry out her professional activities in the polling station No. 8/3. Marat Apyan, the head of the commission told her the following: “Do not poke your nose in this process, you are a young woman. It would be better for you to get married instead of being here”.
The voting of Sashik Sargsyan, the brother of the president of Armenia was open and in response to the observers’ demands he answered by swearing.
A person representing Kentron community threatened the journalist. The representatives of the US Embassy were present during the counting of votes as observers. The mechanism of forging the elections called “carrousel” took place in the polling station No. 10/32. A ballot was left and later was found in the polling booth.
An observer of Helsinki Association saw 15.000 AMD and 1 USD in the passport of Armine Kirakosyan, a member of “Orinats Yerkir Party” in the polling station No. 13/39 of Nubarashen district. The observer informed the head of the commission about it, however it was not recorded.
Since 15:00 the observer of Helsinki Association recorded that there were lots of passports in the same polling station. The head of the commission did not take any appropriate measures in relation to that.
In the polling stations No. 13/38 and 13/39 the observer of Helsinki Association recorded 4-5 cases, when members of a family came to the polling station for voting, but they found out that some people had already voted instead of them. A woman also wanted to vote, but she was told that she had already voted. The head of the commission recorded only the last case.
There were people standing near the polling stations who were instructing the voters for whom they should cast their votes. They hindered the professional activity of a journalist, representing the ALM TV Channel. The latter was simply taken away from the polling station. The head of the commission again did not pay any notice to the fact.
An observer Seda Pepoyan tried to stuff the ballot boxes in the polling station No.13/18 of Erebuni district at about 15:00. Ashot Babelyan, a proxy for the Armenian National Congress managed to take 24 ballots from her and called the commission members and Martun Grigoryan, the observer representing Helsinki Association. In the presence of the journalist of “Haykakan Zhamanak”, “A1+” and “Hayq” newspapers the envelopes were open and they found out that that 12 ballots were for benefit of the “Orinats Yerkir Party”, 7 ballots for the Republican Party of Armenia and 5 ballots were for the party “Bargavaj Hayastan”.
Arayik Stepanyan, an observer representing the “Yeritasardakan Khorhurd” NGO and a husband of the head of the commission of the same polling station tried to conceal the fact. However, a relevant protocol and application were drown up addressed to the Central Electoral Committee.
During the counting of votes the observers found out that 45 ballots were missing. The fact was protocolled.
Narek Stepanyan, a son of the head of the commission of the polling station No. 13/18 flung personal insult at Martun Grigoryan, an observer representing Helsinki Association. It is worth mentioning that N. Stepanyan was present in the polling-room illegally.
Ovsanna Babayan, who was the secretary of the commission, also a member of the Republican Party of Armenia tried to conceal this fact too.