Politics 17:00 12/04/2024 Armenia

Freedom House reflects on Civil Contract's misuse of administrative resources at 2023 Yerevan elections

During the campaign for the Yerevan City Council elections in 2023, local observers and independent media observed widespread misuse of administrative resources in favor of Armenia’s ruling Civil Contract party, Freedom House says in its new report Nations in Transit 2024.

They included the engagement of district heads and their deputies in the campaign on questionable legal grounds, significant publicly funded urban renewal projects during the campaign that were seen as an attempts to influence voters, organized participation of the staff of the municipal and national administrative and educational institutions in rallies organized by Civil Contract, and unprecedented increases in municipal spending on various mass celebratory events featuring the ruling party candidates.

“The Yerevan City Council elections were 2023’s main event in terms of domestic politics, and could be regarded as an intermediate test of confidence between the previous nationwide legislative vote in 2021 and the upcoming elections in 2026. While the opposition is known to be stronger in Yerevan compared to most other regions, Civil Contract still managed to gain more votes than any other party; however, it fell far short of the threshold of seats necessary to install a mayor,” the Washington-based watchdog recalls.

“In fact, even in coalition with a minority partner—the Republic Party—the city is now governed by a minority council. Civil Contract also flexed its political muscle in the city councils of smaller communities, where, in a few cases, it continued its practice of impeaching opposition mayors using dubious tactics. The electoral process generally received a positive evaluation from local and international observers. However, it was also marked by the abuse of administrative resources by the ruling party at a scale unprecedented since the Velvet Revolution.

"While one of the revolution’s most heralded gains has been the decoupling of politics from big businesses and oligarchs, 2023 showed concerning signs of a reversal on that front. In particular, two separate investigative reports shed light on the lack of transparency regarding Civil Contract’s sources of funding. Even more concerning, law enforcement agencies cleared Civil Contract of any wrongdoing, while Pashinyan apologized but said his party had not broken any laws," reads the report.

"Two independent investigations conducted by the Armenian news outlets Infocom and CivilNet—the latter working in cooperation with the international Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) network—and released in early 2024 have revealed strong indications of political corruption.7 According to the reports, Civil Contract may have bypassed party financing rules and utilized unlawful mechanisms for fundraising in 2022 and 2023. Notably, the investigations found that a large portion of individuals listed as Civil Contract donors were not aware of donations made on their behalf, that the donated amounts in many cases exceeded the donors’ income, and that purportedly individual contributions had been made in a coordinated manner. In other words, the real sources of these funds are unknown, making Armenia’s ruling party unaccountable to the country’s everyday citizens and signaling the return of oligarchs’ influence, albeit in a hidden form. Additionally, the reports revealed some overlap between the donors and big businesses benefiting from government tenders. Khachatur Sukiasyan, a Civil Contract deputy in the National Assembly, and his family together own a majority stake in Armeconombank, the bank that was involved in facilitating the donations.8 The Prosecutor’s Office, in loyal solidarity with the ruling party, has dismissed the reports," Freedom House says.

Source Panorama.am
Share |

Related news

Տեքստում սխալ կամ վրիպակ նկատելու դեպքում, ուղարկեք խմբագրին հաղորդագրություն` նշելով տվյալ սխալը, այնուհետև սեղմելով Ctrl-Enter:


Ameriabank's Trade Finance portfolio enriched with four prestigious awards from EBRD and IFC
Ameriabank has received four prestigious awards from international financial institutions in recognition of its trade finance operations. At the...
Armenian political analyst warns of 'dangers time' for Armenia
Israel has at least three months to “cleanse” the Gaza Strip of Palestinians, political analyst Stepan Danielyan says, referring to...
Catholicos Karekin II extends condolences to Iran's supreme leader
His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, on Monday offered condolences to Iran's Supreme Leader...
Archbishop Bagrat enters border village cordoned off by police
Archbishop Bagrat Galstanyan, the leader of a protest movement against the Armenian government’s unilateral territorial concessions to...
Armenian border village facing food problem amid entry ban
People in the border village of Kirants in Armenia’s Tavush Province are facing a problem accessing bread and foodstuffs amid an...
Iran declares five days of mourning after president killed in copter crash
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has announced five days of mourning following the death of the country's President, Ebrahim...
Foreign Ministry denies report of Iranian president's planned to visit Armenia
The Armenian Foreign Ministry on Monday denied a TASS report that Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi planned to visit Armenia on Sunday but the...
Armenian FM sends condolences to Iran
Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan offered his deepest condolences to the Iranian government and Foreign Ministry following the fatal...
Archbishop Bagrat denied entry into border village
Police officers on Monday barred Archbishop Bagrat Galstanyan, the leader of a protest movement against the Armenian...
Police deploy heavy presence to Armenian border village
A large contingent of police forces was deployed to Kirants, a border village in Armenia's Tavush Province, early on Monday ahead of...
Mkhitaryan: 'A new glorious page in the history of Inter'
Inter Milan received the trophy for winning the 2023-24 Serie A title after their match against Lazio on Sunday. The Nerazzurri had...
Official says Israel not involved in Raisi helicopter crash
Israel was not involved in the death of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi in a helicopter crash that also killed several members of his entourage,...
Donations tilt Vatican in favor of Azerbaijan
By Harut Sassounian TheCaliforniaCourier.com In a lengthy article published in the Irpmedia.irpi.eu in Italian on March 27, 2024,...
Pashinyan offers condolences over Iranian president's death
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has offered his condolences to Iran's Supreme Leader Seyyed Ali Khamenei following the passing...
Iran’s president confirmed dead in helicopter crash
Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi has been confirmed killed after the helicopter he was travelling in crashed in poor weather, Al...
Central Bank unveils collector coin marking Aznavour's 100th anniversary
On May 20, the Central Bank of Armenia is putting into circulation “100th Anniversary of Charles Aznavour’s Birth” gold...
Archbishop Bagrat meets with military personnel
Archbishop Bagrat Galstanyan, the leader of the Tavush for the Homeland movement opposing the Armenian government’s unilateral territorial...
Senior cleric announces rally in Yerevan on May 26
Archbishop Bagrat Galstanyan, the leader of the Tavush for the Homeland movement opposing the Armenian government’s unilateral territorial...
Archbishop Bagrat says no decision yet on his nomination for PM
No official decision has yet been taken on the nomination of Archbishop Bagrat Galstanyan for Armenian prime minister. The Tavush for the...
Opposition MP reiterates support for movement led by Archbishop Bagrat
MP Hayk Mamijanyan, who heads the opposition Pativ Unem faction in the Armenian National Assembly, on Saturday reiterated his team’s...
Global study predicts increase in life expectancy by 2050
Global life expectancy is set to increase by almost five years by 2025, new research has found, but factors like obesity and high blood pressure...
Henrikh Mkhitaryan raises issue of Armenian prisoners held in Azerbaijan
Inter Milan midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan on Friday called the attention of the international community to the issue of Armenian prisoners held...
LIVE: Archbishop Bagrat meets with cultural figures
Archbishop Bagrat Galstanyan, the leader of the Tavush for the Homeland movement against the Armenian government’s unilateral territorial...
Armenian MP urges Russia to review its priorities in South Caucasus
Armenian opposition MP Tigran Abrahamyan calls on Russia to review its priorities in the South Caucasus and ensure the safe return of the...
Archbishop Bagrat reveals reason for meeting with parties
Archbishop Bagrat Galstanyan, the leader of a protest movement against the Armenian government’s unilateral territorial concessions to...
Armenian minister meets with border villagers affected by land surrender
Armenian Minister of Territorial Administration and Infrastructures Gnel Sanosyan on Saturday travelled to the border village of Kirants in...
TV and film actor Dabney Coleman dies at 92
Dabney Coleman, best known for his portrayal of cantankerous characters in films such as Tootsie and 9 to 5, has died at age 92, BBC News...
Tavush movement activists released
Five activists of the Tavush for the Homeland protest movement were set free on Friday night, reported lawyer Varazdat Harutyunyan, a member of...
India awaits clear proposals from Armenia on Chabahar port use, envoy says
Regarding the use of Chabahar port, India is waiting for details from the Armenian side and will definitely consider them once clear proposals...
Snow to hit parts of Armenia
Snow and wet snow are expected in Armenia’s Gegharkunik Province and mountainous areas of Vayots Dzor and Syunik Provinces on Friday...

Follow us and get updates!

Most popular articles

{"core.blocks.header.spell_message1":"Selected mistake: ","core.blocks.header.spell_message2":"Send a message about the mistake?"}