YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–Armenia’s Central Election Commission (CEC) accepted the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s (OSCE) proposal to put at least two transparent boxes in each of more than 1,800 polling stations across Armenia during this month’s parliamentary elections and constitutional referendum.
The CEC had earlier decided to revert to bigger wooden boxes on the grounds that they have enough space for three ballots which each Armenian voter will be asked to cast on May 25; it nevertheless recently reversed that decision to accept the OSCE’s offer.
As a result–the OSCE will supply an additional 3,400 transparent boxes to Armenia next week. Every polling station will have three such boxes–two for ballots cast for parliamentary candidates and one for the referendum. The OSCE had already delivered 2,000 transparent boxes ahead of the recent presidential elections.
The OSCE office in Yerevan welcomed the move–saying that it will contribute to the transparency of the electoral process.
The CEC gave no explanation for the unexpected change of heart. The deputy head of the OSCE office in Yerevan Elaine Conkievich–denied that it was the result of strong international pressure on the Armenian authorities. "Our office has done nothing to pressure them into accepting the transparency boxes," she told reporters.