New Draft Electoral Code Adopted by the Armenian Government

The recent cabinet meeting that adopted the Draft Electoral Code. (Source: Panorama.am)
The recent cabinet meeting that adopted the Draft Electoral Code. (Source: Panorama.am)

The recent cabinet meeting that adopted the Draft Electoral Code. (Source: Panorama.am)

YEREVAN(Panorama.am)— On March 3, a new Draft Electoral Code of Armenia was adopted at a cabinet sitting by the Armenian Government. Chief of Armenian Government Staff Davit Harutyunyan presented the Draft and announced that the final version of the document will be prepared through active political debates to be conducted until June 1.

“The focus of the key discussions should be transferred to the political field, and for that reason some discussions are proposed to be held at the National Assembly. The adoption of the Code signals the launch of public discussion phase to be held at the National Assembly,” Harutyunyan sajd.

Two major innovations were introduced into the new Code. One provision states that the Head of local self-government bodies in Gyumri, Vanadzor communities shall be elected directly by electors like in Yerevan City. “This is the first step and I think the list will expand and we will move toward strengthening of the role of political forces in the communities,” Harutyunyan added.

The second innovation, set by the amended Constitution, is that Elections of the National Assembly shall be held under the proportional electoral system.

Harutyunyan indicated that serious amendments are proposed with regard of the formation of Central Electoral Commission.

According to that, the powers of the Central Electoral Commission member shall be terminated by the National Assembly, by at least three fifths of votes of the total number of Deputies, which constitute 60%.

Harutyunyan added the Draft Code contains the OSCE/ODIHR recommendations for the two previous elections.

The code further establishes the absolute majority rule which shall comprise 54% of all the seats.
“Long term goals are put at the baseline for this Code which will give an opportunity over the time to form a solid political representation in the places,” Harutyunyan said, reflecting on the provision.
The code establishes that the minimum number of Deputies of the National Assembly shall be 101. The preliminary distribution of the mandates of the National Assembly shall be carried out by taking number 101, as a basis. Elections of the National Assembly shall be held under the proportional electoral system, from a multi-mandate constituency covering the whole territory of the Republic from among candidates for Deputies nominated in the national and district electoral lists of political parties, alliance of political parties.

During elections of the National Assembly 13 electoral districts shall be constituted: 4 —in Yerevan, 9 — in marzes.

The Code establishes that everyone who has attained the age of twenty-five, has been a citizen of Armenia for the preceding four years, has been permanently residing in the Republic of Armenia for the preceding four years, has the right of suffrage and has command of the Armenian language may be elected as a Deputy of the National Assembly.

Each political party, alliance of political parties running in elections shall nominate one national electoral list of candidates and one district electoral list for each district.

The National Assembly, local self-government bodies — except for the heads of Yerevan, Gyumri, Vanadzor communities — shall be elected directly by electors.

The Central Electoral Commission shall comprise of seven members. The chairperson and other members of the Central Electoral Commission shall, upon recommendation of the competent standing committee of the National Assembly, be elected by the National Assembly by at least three fifths of votes of the total number of Deputies, for a term of six years.

The same person may not be elected as a member of the Central Electoral Commission, including as chairperson of the commission for more than two consecutive terms. Within the first part of the national electoral list of a political party, alliance of political parties and each of the political parties included in the alliance, the number of the representatives of each sex, starting from the second place on the list, must not exceed 80 percent of each integer group of five candidates (2-6, 2-11, 2-16 and subsequently till the end of the list).

The first part of the national electoral list of a political party, alliance of political parties there shall include not less than 80 and not more than 300 candidates

The electoral list of a political party, alliance of political parties may also include persons that are not members of that political party, or of any of the member political parties to the alliance. The number of the electoral list of a political party may not exceed 30 per cent of the total number of candidates.

The Draft Code establishes that voting shall take place only in the polling stations established on the territory of the Republic of Armenia, between 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., except for the cases prescribed by this Code.

Electors who are present in the voting room at 8 p.m., but who have not yet voted, shall have the right to vote.

During the elections of the National Assembly, Councils of Elders of Yerevan, Gyumri, Vanadzor, an individual ballot paper shall be printed for each political party running in elections. The ballot paper of each political party running in elections must, by its color, clearly differ from the ballot papers of other political parties running in elections. The colors of the ballot papers shall be divided among the political parties running in elections by drawing of lots as prescribed by the Central Electoral Commission.

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