The Citizen Observer Initiative was created in May of 2013, ahead of the Yerevan City Council elections, by local NGOs and activists concerned with the poor state of Armenian democracy. The initiative was born out of the collaboration of a number of organizations, among them, Transparancy International Anticorruption Center, Asparez Journalists Club, Europe in Law Association, and The Helsinki Citizens Assembly-Vanadzor Office. Currently, the initiative is spearheaded by Transparency International Anticorruption Center, Asparez Journalists Club, and Europe in Law Association.

Our mission is to provide public oversight over the electoral process, by supporting efforts aimed at greater transparency and towards free and fair elections. Through the organizing of domestic election observation missions, we work to prevent and record electoral violations, protect electoral rights and foster democratic development in Armenia.

As part of the observation mission, we organize an intensive training curriculum for its participants, which cover both the legal and practical aspects of observing elections. In order to maximize the mission’s effectiveness, two participants monitor each polling station on Election Day, one as an observer, the other as a media representative. The observation mission also participates in the post-electoral processes of filing complaints and monitoring their proceedings.

In addition to organizing an electoral observation mission, we actively advocate for electoral code reform, by providing expert analysis and participating in broader legislative reform initiatives. We also conduct strategic litigation on cases that stem from the electoral code and work to raise public awareness regarding the electoral process, in an effort to promote the enforcement of democratic ideals and electoral rights for all Armenian citizens.

Since its inception in 2013, we have participated in all of the elections in Armenia with a sizable observation mission, from the local self-government level to the national level, including the December 2015 constitutional referendum.