Helsinki Association Monitoring Mission on 06.05.2012 Parliamentary Elections
Helsinki Association registered also infringements related with the wrong arrangements of the polling booths, e.g. a person who is approaching his polling booth could easily see another person’s voting.There were several cases in different polling stations when the representatives of candidates were shouting at the commission chairman.Almost in front of all polling stations the so called “criminal authorities” were gathered, there could be seen people gatherings who were not participating in the elections at that moment and cars with no numbers, minibuses in some polling stations. We have received a call informing that a case of violence against a journalist happened near the polling station №12/33.
In the morning hours unprecedented activeness of voters was registered.
At the polling station № 7/15 people were fighting with the aim to help the old persons; in one and the same polling booth 2 persons were “helping” an old man. Right at this moment cases of voting with other passports were registered. No appropriate protocol was drawn up.
100% participation was registered in the Penalty Institutions and military units. According to the Helsinki Association received data the soldiers in the military units were made vote for the ruling Republican party.
There have been recorded cases of abuse of authority regarding citizens’ orientation during the parliamentary elections.
The Republican Party proposed majoritarian candidates mostly refused to take part in the political debates by the invitations of candidates proposed by Armenian National Congress (ANC) opposition party. Helsinki Association received data from trustworthy sources about cases when the soldiers voted in the presence of their senior officers, who instructed them for which candidate and party to elect.
Basically the procedure counting of votes at the polling stations started quiet late, while the voting in accordance with the law ends at 20:00.
Infringements discovered by the first monitoring group
At 09:20 we visited polling station №6/01; here we clarified the information Helsinki Association received on the disappearing seals ahead of time; the commission members confirmed this information. At 08:30, on May 6 Helsinki Association received calls from the citizens with multiple complaints on the seal disappearance from the passport in about 2-15 minutes. A member from the local NGO “Your Choice” was present at this polling station that was unaware of this. At the polling station №17/27 another member of this NGO announced demonstratively that he was supporting Republican Party. The abovementioned is a violation of terms established in the Article 1 of RA Cr. Code from the side of the Central Electoral Commission of the Republic of Armenia.
At 10:10 we received a call with the complaint that so called “carousel” trick started to be used from 10:10 at the polling stations of Davitashen community.At about 08:00-09:00 calls received from Masis and Hrazdan cities with the information that stamps were dissappeared from Yerevan’s Kentron community. In Achapnyak community at 09:20 posters of RPA were not removed yet. We also noticed a grey Opel model car with /31UO813/ identification numbers with RPA flags. At 09:30 from polling station №06/01 we are informed that here also the seals were disappeared. At about 09:30-10:00 we received calls informing that at polling stations №8/14, №8/15 and №8/16 occured gatherings, in front of the polling stations the so called “criminal authorities” were constantly present, we also were informed about the police inaction in the abovementioned polling stations. At 10:15 at polling station №8/14 there were people gatherings.
At 10:20 a woman accompanied an old woman, entered polling booth and voted instead of the old woman; nothing was registered on this. Here also seal disappearance was registered. One of the voters applied to the commission members with nervous tone; a young man (with no badge) approached to calm down the citizen. When we tried to find out what was going on the woman replied “nothing!”At this same polling station there were 2 representatives of the candidate Koryun Nahapetyan, while the presence of only 1 representative is allowed. At 10:30 at polling station №8/15 problem of seal disappearance ahead of time was registered. At polling station №8/16 at 10:31 two citizens left and did not vote because their names were not included in the voting list.
At polling station №8/7 at 10:50 we discovered 6 voted ballots under the 3 polling booths.At 11:00 we received a call informing that violence was realized against representatives of Prosperous Armenia Party and Armenian National Congress party in Gegharkunik region.
At 11:13 we noticed a car with flags of Republican Party in Achapnyak community.
At 11:15 we received a call informing that voters were brought to the polling stations by buses in Noragyugh.
At polling station №6/11 we witnessed how a young man brought an old woman to vote and asked. “You remember for whom to vote, right?” The old woman answered. “The second number; what was the name?” (the second number at the electoral district was the candidate Ruben Hovsepyan proposed from the side of Republican Party). At 11:20 at the same polling station one of the commission members said; “Who has brought this group of old women?” The young man replied; “They are old, don’t they have the right to vote?” The secrecy of ballot was not guaranteed here. Many were the cases when persons who were not voters and did not have the appropriate allowance to be at the polling station, were present at the polling stations permanently. At 11:36 in front of the polling station we noticed mini-buses with the following numbers – 33 56s and 23 83s.
In the neighborhood of polling stations №6/21 and №6/22 we saw 2 fellows with passports and lists in their hands.
Numerous were the cases of violation of polling stations’ distance requirement between each other. At 13:00 on Halabyan Street we noticed Ruben Hayrapetyan’s pre-electoral poster (RPA).At 13:10 on Orbeli Street we noticed RPA pre-electoral poster.
At 13:15 on Baghramyan Street we noticed BMW model car with identification numbers 09LU659 with Republican Party flags.
At 14:00 we received a call that in front of the polling stations №9/15 and №9/16 occurred people gatherings and police did not undertake any kind of tasks in this regard. At 14:10 we visited the abovementioned polling station, by that time there were no people gatherings. At polling station №9/16 other people were helping old people to vote; these people were registered as “helpers”. The representatives of different candidates and parties stated that during the whole day cases like this were constantly registered.
At about 14:30 we noticed the candidate Garegin Nushikyan’s pre-electoral poster in the neighbourhood of Rossia Market (Tigran Mets X M. Khorenatsi(Khanjyan)streets).
At polling station №11/14 at 14:35 a person was giving instructions, who did not have any correspondent allowance.
At 14:45 in the same community we noticed Mher Sedrakyan (RPA) pre-electoral poster.At about 14:50 we received a call informing that at polling station №12/33 a journalist was subjected to violence.
At 14:52 we received a call informing that at polling station №12/27 bribes were given to voters. At about 15:00 investigators were “talking” to a woman; by their words she had witnessed a case of bribing. Helsinki Association Mikael Danielyan advised the woman “not to speak without a lawyer” and was answered “Don’t interfere”.
At about 15:10 at polling station №12/27 a man was standing outside the polling station and told a woman entering the poling station, “vote for our candidate”, the woman answered, “All day long you’re lying here”. At this electoral district we also noticed cars with Republican Party flags.
At 13:38 at polling station №7/5 the passport seals were still disappearing. Helsinki Association monitors warned about this to the commission and received the following reply: “Can’t be possible!” After several cases of disappearence and after a long argumentation we demanded to change the stamp and at last it was changed. At about 17:00 there were noticed mini-buses at the polling stations localized in the neighborhood of “Triumph” café on Isahakyan Street.
At 17:13 we noticed Ruben Hayrapetyan’s (RPA) pre-electoral poster at Massive 4th community. At 17:37 in front of the polling station №1/23 we noticed gatherings; several fellows accompanied voters to the polling stations.
At 17:32 we tried to enter polling station №1/04, a policeman did not allow anybody to enter; we introduced ourselves and hardly succeeded to enter. Shouting voices were heard; Heritage Party representative demanded to draw up a protocol on the discovery of false passport. Armenian National Party representative shouted threatening that would turn out everybody of the polling station. A young man who had the false passport had already left the polling station after Heritage Party representative noticed the completely new passport and demanded to show it. When the commission chairman got ready to draw up a protocol on the basis of the representative’s words the young man shouted: “Don’t write like that; you were told to go out to talk, why you didn’t come?” (He turned to the Heritage Party representative). The representative answered that he had nothing to clarify outside the polling station with that boy. The commission was delaying the writing of the protocol. In the end the protocol was not drawn up in accordance with the witnesses’ words. The man who realised the intended fraud was not punished. From this polling station another representative was giving an interview to the jounalists and informed that there were many cases of voting with completely new passports during the whole day. In this period some “helpers” entered the polling booths with old people for several times; nothing was being registered on this. Moreover, the fellows accompanied the old people up to the polling booths and after voting instead of them, left the old men and came out of the polling station.
At 18:13 a man entered polling station №1/01 with a paper in hand, where it was mentioned for whom he had to vote. Here again “helpers” could be seen, who voted instead of the old people. At 18:01 we got information on the general situation of polling station from a candidate representative Mariam Gabazyan. The latter told that great number of people were brought to the polling station by mini-buses.
There were many cars with no identification numbers near the polling stations. From one of the persons gathered near the polling stations we were informed that the owner of the car had just bought the car and was always parking there. At 18:22 at polling station №1/02 an old woman asked for a help in order to vote; one of the girls at the polling station was asked to help on random basis. By the girl’s words she “was not able to help” and then the old woman called a fellow standing in front of the polling station who “helped” her to vote.
In front of the polling stations in Avan community numerous cars of “Z” taxi service could be seen (this taxi service belongs to the current mayor of Yerevan city Taron Margaryan).
At 19:52 we visited №1/28 polling station and were present at the calculation process. The numbers of envelopes and added ballots did not match with each other. The calculation process started quiet late. It was kind of a rule that during the calculation the ballots voted for the RPA party sequenced each other for a long time.
Infringements discovered by the second monitoring group
At 10:00 we visited polling station №2/13 and discovered that some monitors had been registered at 07:45 who left the polling station at 08:00.
At 11:30 near the polling station №13/7 a child was standing with 4 passports in his hand. When the child saw the monitors he ran away. Also in front of the polling station there were 3 mini-buses (№117), which brought people to the polling station and took them back. At about 12:30 at 12/02 polling station we witnessed the same scene. Mini-buses (№90) were waiting for the voters in front of the polling stations.
At about 15:00 at polling station №8/22 the secretary did not wish to register the observers saying that it was prohibited by law. When we demanded to show that law in the RA Electoral Code he refused to do so and gave us the Electoral Code saying that he didn’t have time and let us find it ourselves.
At about 15:35 at polling station №7/05 a woman was complaining that after 3 times attempts every time the seal in the passport disappeared. In the conversation with the polling station commission chairman we asked for details and he refused that fact saying that nothing like that happened.
At 16:15 in front of the polling stations №5/15 and 5/16 over 10-15 boys were standing with their own cars that were disturbing the work process of the candidate/party representatives and monitors. The police officers refused to interfere. At about 18:00 at polling station №4/24 we witnessed how 5-6 men without any permission entered the polling station and suggested one of the candidate representatives going out, afterwards they took him to the room for the police representatives. These persons were shouting and using insulting words addressed to the candidate representative. Then they left. During the whole period we witnessed the police representatives’ inaction.
Infringements discovered by the third monitoring group
At 09:54 at the polling station №12/18 there were already 125 voters. No infringement was registered in the registration book. At this same polling station at 10:48 there were registered 275 voters. and at 11:04 already 303 voters. Certain persons accompanied the voters up to the polling booth constantly.
At polling station №6/11 there were cases of seal disappearence. We registered very large gatherings in this polling station, in the neighborhood the so called “criminal authorities” were permanently sitting on the chairs. At 11:33 there were registered 350 voters here. At polling station №6/12 we registered people gathering, again the “criminal authorities” were permanently sitting on the chairs in front of the polling station. At 11:35 there were registered 350 voters at the following polling station.
The polling station №12/18 was situated in the kindergarten №132 in Nerkin Charbakh community. Here besides the mentioned polling station there was also one other polling station. We received a call from ANC party proposed candidate Tigran Ter Petrosyan’s representative informing that starting from 08:00 occured people gatherings in the polling station and at 09:30-10:00 the situation in the polling station already became uncontrollable. “Kentron” TV channel journalist working process was interfered. After the journalist was not allowed to shoot, the representatives of parties applied to the commission chairman who was not able to bring the situation under control. One of Helsinki Association monitors applied to the polling station commission chairman asking why the journalist was not allowed to shoot and received the reply that as if one of the citizens did not wish to be videoed and a conflict arose between the journalist and the citizen. The journalist stated that nothing of the kind happened. Helsinki Association watched the video and found out that really the abovementioned incident was not true. The so called “criminal authorities” approached the journalist (the latter also was a resident of this electoral district) and said: “Don’t shoot, we will break your legs!” At this polling station around 10:00 o’clock there were over 200 voters and the disappearing ink was used up to 11:30 and was not changed. We also witnessed at this polling station how the so called “criminal authorities” of the neighborhood accompanied people up to the polling booth specifying for whom to vote. We have made number of warnings to the commission chairman but he did not do anything in this direction. During the calculation of ballots the polling station doors were not closed. There was a considerable number of citizens in the electoral district whose names were not included in the registration book. Even there were people who were accompanying old people, entered the polling booth and actually voted instead of them. Members of the troops who came from the military unit voted out of the registration book list with another list. Their list was nothing else but 2 papers of A4 format including only names, sirnames and military book numbers. The lists were brought in closed envelopes and then opened at the polling station. At polling stations №10/20 and №10/18 there were 2 cars in the both sides of the street, which were constantly parked near the polling stations. The cars were with flags of RPA party.
At about 12:30 at polling station №9/27 (Noragyugh) there were already 600 voters. According to our calculations every 40 minutes one person had to vote for such kind of result. At polling station №9/28 we registered the same phenomenon.
At polling station №10/19 there was a problem of seal disappearance. RPA representative Hovsep Harutyunyan was displaying overactive behavior; the commission members wished to calm him down, even the police interfered. This was registered in the registration book. At this polling station according to the data at 14:40 there were already 895 voters. According to the data at 18:00 o’clock there were 894 voters at polling station №10/20.At 18:50 at polling station №10/25 out of the 1850 voters registered in the electoral district 1650 voters already voted.
At polling station №9/02 based on the data given by the commission there were 1026 voters, but during the calculation process it was found out that the real number was 1045.
At polling stations №4/20 and 4/22 we received a call informing that bribery charges to the citizens were realized.
At polling station №4/27 we witnessed how money was divided to the voters in the neighborhood of the polling station.
See also the video material prepared by Helsinki Association: