Parliament Approives Election Law Amendment

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–The National Assembly Friday voted to unanimously approve the bill on "Making Amendmen’s to the Election Law." A hundred deputies participated in the vote. The parliamentary standing commission on state and legal issues presented a positive opinion regarding the bill. Most of members of the "Republic" faction as well as the factions of the National Democratic Union and the "Self-Determination" Union were either absent from the meeting or just opted out of the voting.

The "Yerkrapah" deputy group presented its bill for a third time. In both previous cases–on March 3 and 10–the vote outcomes were canceled because the votings had failed to gather the required minimum of 96 deputies.

Under an amended law–a candidate can be nominated for Parliament on the majority system after collecting 500 signatures–not 2,000 as was stipulated earlier. Also–it is planned to clarify the terms of denying registration to candidates. The registration of a candidate on a party’s ticket with elections in progress is to be declined by the Central Electoral Commission with a majority vote of two-thirds. In the case of local elections–the candidacy of the community leader or member of the Council of the Elders is declined by a resolution passed by a majority of two-thirds of the total number of members of the regional election commission.

Albert Bazeyan–head of Yerkrapah and deputy speaker of Parliament–said it was Yerkrapah’s third attempt to improve the situation that had arisen through the fault of the group’s member–as errors and misprints are the result of haste and negligence of the main reporter. According to Bazeyan–some forces have assumed a boycotting position in pursuit of a deeper atmosphere of illegitimacy and mistrust to the coming elections. Perhaps–it is done in an attempt to find excuses to their own campaign failures.

Immediately after the voting–Vahagn Khachatrian of the Republic faction challenged the outcome of the voting–since some of the "pro voters" were absent from the hall. Parliament Speaker Khosrov Haroutiunian retorted that the indicated facts could not have essentially impacted the results of the voting.

Talking to Noyan Tapan–Khachatrian commented–"At least five of those who voted ‘for’–members of the Communist faction Sergey Badalian–Gagik Tadevossian–Frunze Kharatian–members of Yerkrapah Andranik Kocharian and Norayr Aharonian–were absent from the hall at the moment of the voting." The deputy went on to explain that there were in fact more deputies who voted likewise–since at voting time 106 deputies were present at the hall–of whom at least 15 (mainly representing Republic) did not vote–consequently–no more than 91 deputies could have voted. However–the fact that the indicated 5 deputies did not vote is not enough to cancel the outcome of the voting," Khachatrian said.

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