Nare Ghalamkaryan, 18, studies communications at the American University of Armenia. In spring of 2018, she took part in the “velvet revolution.” Later, in December of the same year, Nare voted in the early parliamentary elections. It was her first time casting a ballot.
Her peer, Mikayel Ayvazyan, is also a first-time voter. But unlike Nare, who grew up in Armenia, he is a member of the Armenian Diaspora. Even as he lived abroad, he kept himself informed about the ongoing developments in Armenia.
Both are happy to have participated in the democratic processes that swept through Armenia and culminated with the election last year, and hope that change will follow. “For too long Armenians went to vote and their expectations were not fulfilled,” said Nare. “These elections were different. The voices of Armenians were heard, and the results are credible.”
The objective of carrying out a transparent electoral processes was high on the agenda of the international community in Armenia. At the request of the government, the European Union, Governments of Germany, United Kingdom, and Sweden agreed to provide electoral assistance to the authorities in holding early parliamentary elections. The idea was not only to assist in holding transparent elections, but to also further strengthen capacities of electoral management bodies in the country.
Due to its proven track record in supporting electoral processes worldwide, UNDP was tasked with implementing electoral support in Armenia, a major component of its governance and democratic institution-building activities.
When asked about the past, Nare responded:
“If someone would have offered me a future in a different country just one year ago, I would have left in an instant. Now I feel that Armenia is safer. I can trust the new government and its institutions more.”