YEREVAN — OSCE Office in Armenia announced on Wednesday it’s revised strategy to election monitoring for the May election to the National Assembly. The new strategy has created controversy over the unexpected usefulness of the new approach. Deputy head of OSCE office in Yerevan Carel Hofstra clarified the details.
“Indeed, decision has been made on highest level that OSCE election monitoring mission to Armenia should not be composed of utter nitwits this time. I’m not sure I myself agree with the decision, since it seems to go against everything we’ve done this far too dramatically, but that’s the official OSCE decision, so we will give it a try”.
Civil society organizations have welcomed the unprecedented OSCE decision. Among them head of Armenia’s Transparency International NGO Sona Ayvazyan shared pleased surprise: “Frankly, we did expect the policy to change at some point, but we didn’t think it would happen this fast and this drastically. It seemed more like OSCE was resolute to further equip Armenian election observation mission with outright schmucks for at least another year.”
Armenian government has expressed moderate satisfaction with strong reservations over the decision. Local officials question the timeliness of the decision.
Head of the Republican faction Galust Sahakyan expressed open discontent on Teusday: “This goes against the whole 20-year-old tradition of election observation – OSCE observes the thing, monitors get their overrated per diems, the mission ends up with a neat report calling elections “not great, but a step forward”, then everyone gets a day in Garni-Geghard and everyone goes home relaxed and happy”.
Speaker of the ruling party Eduard Shamrazenko has called the OSCE decision “a cheap step to please the opposition”. The official believes the previous observation strategy reflected the needs of modern Armenia.
“Look, I’m not saying the OSCE observation on the election day has been any more useful than a pack of stoned Philippino hookers on a trivia night, but that’s what Armenia needs today. You can’t just wake up one day and send actually qualified observers to an election here,” – the official claims.
OSCE’s step has been negatively perceived by US-funded local NGO specialized in election observations “It’s Your Choice” (IYC), which believes this may be a bad precedent that may lead to further removal of local schmucks from election monitoring.
Sources report that OSCE office in Yerevan is currently revamping its whole strategy and preparing to apply the new “let’s be useful” approach to all of its operation areas.