On May 2, at noon, Media Center hosted a discussion-press-conference with participation of NGO representatives observing the electoral processes and the campaign period of the Yerevan City Council Elections.
The speakers included Satik Badeyan, scientific worker at Regional Development and Research Center NGO, Ashot Meliqyan, Chairman of the Committee to Protect Freedom of Expression, Alexander Shagafyan, representative of Armenian Center for Democratic Education-CIVITAS NGO, Aghasi Yesayan from Democratic and Electoral Processes NGO, iDitord website coordinator Samvel Martirosyan, and Vahram Vardanyan representing Electoral Systems Center NGO.
In the highlight of the recent cases of violence against reporters during the campaign period Ashot Meliqyan, Chairman of the Committee to Protect Freedom of Expression, urged the political forces and the police to create favorable conditions allowing reporters to perform their duties unobstructed.
Meliqyan reported that on May 5 the Committee will operate designated hotline numbers: 093 107 085, 010533895, as well as rapid-response group.
Aghasi Yesayan introduced “Watchful Eye” project initiated by the Democratic and Electoral Processes NGO. This system will enable observers to report the results from polling stations via short text messages (sms); the data will immediately be posted at www.armelections.net to be available to public.
iDitord website coordinator Samvel Martirosyan says there have been only 15 alerts registered on the site, which is a low indicative of civil involvement as compared to the presidential election period.
In reference to the expected potential risks on the voting day, Martirosyan pointed out “criminal turf authorities' entry into the political field” as the main danger.
Alexander Shagafyan, representative of Armenian Center for Democratic Education-CIVITAS NGO, shared this opinion: “Community elections are more fertile soil for turf mobsters’ participation.”
Vahram Vardanyan, representing Electoral Systems Center NGO, finds it suspicious that till the end observers do not disclose the sources of their financial means. He says Yerevan residents and political forces are now more interested in electoral processes.
Satik Badeyan, scientific worker at Regional Development and Research Center NGO, points out that until now her organization had observed elections only in the provinces and will be on mission in Yerevan for the first time, with a hundred well-trained observers equally distributed among all the polling places.