The International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) began its current work in Armenia in the wake of the 2018 Velvet Revolution under the rapid response initiative “Strengthening Armenia’s Political Transition” (SAPT), funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Under SAPT, IFES provided direct support to the Central Election Commission (CEC) and lawmakers to review and recommend amendments to the existing electoral legal framework. IFES worked with the new government and civil society organizations to recommend amendments to the Election Code and assess the capacity of the CEC to administer early elections, while at the same time assisting the CEC to train poll workers and educate voters on snap elections held to the City of Yerevan’s Council of Elders.
Following snap parliamentary elections in 2018, USAID awarded Consortium for Elections and Political Process Strengthening partners a four-year cooperative agreement called “Strengthening Electoral Processes and Political Accountability” (SEPPA) through the Global Elections and Political Transitions mechanism. Under SEPPA, IFES aims to promote the integrity of elections and foster broader citizen engagement in elections and political processes. Via its on-site presence and strategic outreach to domestic and international partners, IFES is a critical player in Armenia, with programming centered on four pillars: electoral code and legal reform; accessibility and inclusion of persons with disabilities; civic engagement and education; and election management body capacity building.
Under its Regional Europe program, IFES is engaged in a number of activities designed to continue support to election administration in Armenia. This includes building capacity in cybersecurity and elections through IFES’ Regional Election Technology and Cyber-Hygiene course developed for election management bodies and other electoral stakeholders. Through the Europe and Eurasia Election Management Body Working Group on Social Media, Disinformation and Electoral Integrity, Armenian election officials are engaged in a regional body designed to address key challenges to information integrity in the electoral process.