On September 30, 2008, Policy Forum Armenia (PFA)—in collaboration with Bentley College International Studies Department and Bentley College Multicultural Center in Boston, Massachusetts—presented PFA's recent report on "Armenia's 2008 Presidential Elections: Select Issues and Analysis." The presentation provided an analysis of the heavily disputed February 19, 2008 presidential election and the disturbances that ensued, specifically highlighting human rights abuses and election irregularities.
The event was the first in a series to be held nationally and internationally to encourage debate around issues of importance for Armenia’s development, and attracted an audience of nearly 80 members of the academic as well as local Armenian communities, including individuals who had been in Armenia during the election.
The presentation was conducted by Dr. Asbed Kotchikian (PFA Senior Fellow) and Ms. Ruby Chorbajian (PFA Fellow) and focused on a number of aspects of the Report. The major issues highlighted during the presentation included the pre-election campaign and various violations; the role of civil society in the aftermath of the election, including during the state of emergency; and the role of various stakeholders. The authorities’ conduct during and after the election was discussed at length and included misuse of state resources and banning of some candidates from equal access to the media. The presentation also focused on a detailed statistical analysis of the official election results. Based on a methodology devised to analyze Russia’s elections in 1993, the analysis of Armenian 2008 election data showed massive deviations from the norm and indications of various forms of election fraud, including ballot stuffing and vote steeling.
The 40 minute presentation was followed by a vibrant question and answer session where many audience members raised specific questions about the role of youth movements during and after the election period, the role (or lack thereof) of Diaspora organizations, as well as the impact of the election on the overall political and human rights image of Armenia.
Policy Forum Armenia is an independent professional non-profit association aimed at strengthening discourse on Armenia's economic development and national security and through that helping to shape public policy in Armenia. Its main objective is to offer alternative views and professional analysis containing innovative and practical recommendations for public policy design and implementation.