Local EU statement on the OSCE/ODIHR Referendum Expert Team´s (RET) Final Report (12/02/2016)

The European Union Delegation issues the following statement in agreement with the EU Members States´ Heads of Mission in Armenia.

We recall the local EU statement of 10 December on the constitutional referendum held on 6 December 2015.

The European Union welcomes the OSCE/ODIHR Referendum Expert Team´s Final report of 5 February 2016, notably its current observations and recommendations as well as all the past OSCE/ODIHR recommendations which remained unaddressed.

On this basis, reform of electoral legislation should be carried out in an inclusive manner and all stakeholders are encouraged to make every reasonable effort to build broad consensus. Building on efforts by the authorities to improve public confidence, an agreement should be found on the most critical issues such as the voter register, vote count, possible publishing of voters' lists after the elections or any other means to address persistent perceptions that the presence on voter lists of citizens not present in Armenia may be abused, and tabulation of results.

Accuracy of the voter register should be improved and effective and consistent safeguards against multiple voting, by whatever effective means of identification available, should be introduced. The results of the next year's parliamentary elections should already benefit from these safeguards to reinforce their legitimacy.

The legal framework for complaints and appeals should be reviewed to guarantee more effective remedy against possible abuses. We reiterate that, without a transparent investigation of all alleged frauds as well as appropriate measures taken if these are confirmed, the referendum would be a missed opportunity to increase the confidence in, and the integrity of, electoral processes in Armenia.

The EU will continue to assist Armenia on its internal political, social and economic reform processes, based on the future new legal framework for bilateral cooperation and within the larger perspective of the Eastern Partnership.

In particular, the EU calls for a full-fledged OSCE/ODIHR election observation mission as well as domestic observers for the 2017 parliamentary elections.