Tomorrow, on 20 June, Armenia will have a snap parliamentary election. We, the below-signed organizations, hereby express our profound concern about the atmosphere in which this campaign took place. It was marred by unconcealed and unprecedented actions aimed at discrediting and insulting political competitors at any cost and at destroying them in the public eye, as well as spreading of false and fake information, disinformation, insults, and hate speech. This situation has only deepened intolerance within our society, leading to the emergence of new dividing lines and precluding the prospect of restoring solidarity in Armenia and engaging in a civilized dialogue over the country’s future. It also distracts from a genuine debate over key issues such as Armenia’s democratic development, security, rule of law, education, health care, social justice, and transparent and accountable governance.
Finally, this election is the first after the 2018 Velvet Revolution, and the urgent issues that remain in the agenda include the achievement of social justice, transparent and accountable governance, and the formation of judicial and legal authorities that will enjoy public trust and safeguard the proper administration of justice.
In view of the aforementioned situation during the pre-electoral campaign, we, the below-signed civil society organizations believe that any discussion of the essential problems affecting the state and society and any progress towards solving them require also a civilized dialogue on voting day and in the post-electoral period, as well as an atmosphere of pluralism, preclusion of violence and hate speech, and safeguarding of fundamental rights, including the rights to the freedom of assembly and the freedom of expression, irrespective of the outcome of the election.
Armenia’s law-enforcement and state authorities are obliged to act solely within their powers prescribed by law and to maintain the public order while citizens exercise their right to peaceful and unarmed assembly, and to prevent any attempts of violence.
Political parties and alliances, as well as their leaders, which expect to receive the votes of Armenia’s citizens during this snap election to the National Assembly, bear direct responsibility for acting in accordance with the principles of a democratic state in their public appeals and positions, and to strive to ensure that their allies and supporters act with due respect for the rights safeguarded in the Constitution.
We urge to ensure an atmosphere of mutual respect and civilized dialogue during the voting day and in the post-electoral period, to refrain from conduct undermining democratic principles and human rights values, and to exert the required political will and efforts to facilitate the administration of a free and fair election and the formation of a legitimate government.
We hereby demand all political forces to spare no efforts for preparing the ground for the Armenian people and Armenian society to come together and in unity and solidarity to seek ways out of the multi-layered crisis currently faced.
We urge Armenia’s citizens not to give in to provocations and manipulations, not to infringe upon the rights of others, and to respect the free will and freedom of expression of other citizens. We expect all sides and all supporters of the different political forces to demonstrate self-restraint and prudence.
We urge the international community and the international election observation missions to ensure utmost impartiality, neutrality, and transparency of their observation activities and to build the post-electoral dialogue with Armenia’s government on the basis of respect for the principles of democracy, fundamental human rights and freedoms, and the rule of law.
Others are invited to join this statement.
Analytical Centre on Globalization and Regional Cooperation
Armenian Progressive Youth
Asparez Club of Journalists
Centre for Community Mobilization and Support
For Equal Rights NGO
Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly Vanadzor Office
Law Development and Protection Foundation
Non-Discrimination and Equality Coalition
Open Society Foundations – Armenia
Peace Dialogue NGO
Protection of Rights without Borders NGO
Public Journalism Club
Real World, Real People NGO
Transparency International Anti-Corruption Center
Union of Informed Citizens
Women’s Resource Center