Press release - 372(2009)


Council of Europe Congress mission assesses pre-electoral situation in Armenia

Yerevan, 06.05.2009 - In view of the first municipal elections in the Armenian capital city of Yerevan, on 31 May 2009, a pre-electoral mission of the Council of Europe Congress of Local and Regional Authorities was carried out from 3 to 6 May.

The three-member delegation – Congress Vice-President Fabio Pellegrini (Italy, SOC), Michel Guégan (France, NR) and Nigel Mermagen (UK, ILDG) – met with government and city officials, candidates from most of the political factions, as well as with NGO representatives and the media. In addition, the delegation met a group of Ambassadors of European and non-European countries.

The people that the delegation spoke to underlined the particular importance of these elections for local democracy in Armenia and the political situation in the country as a whole. The Congress delegation understood that there were threats to the proper conduct of these elections, in particular with respect to the registration and mobilisation of voters, the counting of votes, and media objectivity in the campaign.

The delegation had the overall impression that the institutional and political role of the Mayor is in danger of being sidelined by a harsh confrontation between the political factions which are in power and the opposition. “We are concerned that the real needs of the citizens of Yerevan could be brushed aside because of this confrontation,” said Fabio Pellegrini at the end of the mission.

“The Congress is aware of the importance and the specific character of these elections. As the only institutional observers of these elections, we will take these aspects into account during our observation mission, which will be carried out at the end of May,” stressed Nigel Mermagen.

“Despite the concerns which were raised during our mission, we are confident that the Armenian authorities will do their utmost to conduct these elections in a decent way in line with European standards,” concluded Michel Guégan.

The Congress will be the only international organisation to observe the elections on 31 May.

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