Election Code Debate Seen as Controversial

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–The Yerkrapah group–the largest within the Armenian parliament–failed Thursday to bridge its differences with most other parties over a new election law to be debated next week–and which is considered crucial to the outcome of the 1999 parliamentary elections.

Meeting with representatives of other major parties–Yerkrapah failed to win their support for its demand that most seats in the next parliament be allocated in single-mandate constituencies.

Yerkrapah’s draft calls for 60 percent of the 131 seats to be reserved under the majoritarian system. But virtually all other influential parties in Armenia have come up with their own variant which would allocate 100 seats under the system of proportional representation.

The discord over the optimum option increasingly dominates Armenian political life as the parliamentary elections–due next summer–approach.

Viktor Dallakian–The deputy who represented Yerkrapah at Thursday’s discussions–told opponents that his group is ready for compromise but will not make too many concessions.

Paruyr Hairikian–leader of the Self-Determination Union–which like the Yerkrapah supports President Robert Kocharian–told reporters the same day that only the proportional system is capable of yielding a parliament whose composition reflects the wishes of the people.

A second major pro-Kocharian party–the Armenian Revolutionary Federation–also advocates legislative elections based on proportional representation.

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