The Electoral Code of Armenia defines a set of pre-election campaign rules. These include procedures for the use of campaign posters and these procedures have been massively violated recently.
Electoral Code of Armenia
Article 21 of the Electoral Code states that besides venues for pre-election events, posters and campaign materials, both printed and other types, may be posted only in specific places envisaged for that purpose. Campaign posters may be posted on paid advertisement billboards, election headquarters, as well as on or inside buildings, premises, and means of transport (excluding public transport and taxis) belonging to or possessed by natural or legal persons upon their consent (except for buildings occupied by state government bodies or local self-government bodies, public schools or inside public catering or trading facilities),
Moreover, the Code also states that “campaign posters, as well as printed and other types of campaign materials may be placed on the multistoried buildings and premises (including balconies, windows, etc.) possessed by a natural person or on paid billboards placed on external walls of the buildings.
It is also envisaged that community leaders shall allocate special places in their communities for putting up campaign posters and other printed materials for free.
Moreover, the law also prohibits the removal or damage of campaign posters. From AMD 50.000 to AMD 100.000 fine is envisaged for deliberately tearing, damaging or writing on posters that are posted in a place designed for them.
In practice, however, these procedures are massively violated. Our camera has recorded about five dozen cases when posters were posted in prohibited places (for example, on the walls of multistoried buildings), and cases when posters that were posted in specific places envisaged by law were damaged or posters of other parties were posted on them.
Among those violating the law are the “My Step” bloc, the Prosperous Armenia Party, the Heritage Party, and the Luys Alliance.
It should be noted that as of now the Central Electoral Commission has not initiated administrative proceedings against any of the mentioned cases, even though the photos depicting such violations have been circulating on the Internet for about a week.