Armenia’s December 2015 Constitutional Referendum
December 6, 2016 marks the first anniversary of the 2015 Constitutional Referendum in Armenia. On that date, citizens of Armenia went to the polling stations to express their views on constitutional amendments proposed by the executive branch, aimed at transforming the country’s governance structure from a presidential to a parliamentary system. The referendum was seen by critics as an avenue for perpetuating the rule of Serge Sargsyan—who occupies the president’s office following two fraudulent elections and cannot run for a third term—by making him Prime Minister with stronger powers for an indefinite period. Sargsyan’s rule since 2008 has been marred by an unprecedented degree of systemic corruption, cronyism, and poor economic/developmental policy-making. PFA’s Special Report on “Armenia’s 2015 Constitutional Referendum” provides evidence of systemic election fraud that took place during the Referendum. It should serve as a reminder of the degree and sophistication of election fraud in Armenia and a warning that a much stronger monitoring and recount efforts are needed to put a dent in the Sargsyan administration’s election fraud machine to influence an otherwise predictable outcome during the April 2017 parliamentary elections.