CEC Presents Its Activities During Election Period

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–Chairman of the Central Electoral Commission Khachatur Bezirjian–Vice-Chairman Ruben Manoukian and Head of the CEC Legal Service Patvakan Hovhakimian held a meeting with reporters Monday under the "Armenia and Elections" program of the National Press-Club.

The goal of the meeting was to present the CEC’s activities during the election period and the effectiveness of applying the provisions of the Election Law. The CEC representatives emphasized the role of the mass media in covering the provisions of the Election Law and restoring voter confidence in the elections.

The CEC found drawbacks and omissions in the Election Law during their preparations for the elections. Bezirjian said that the right to recall CEC members as stipulated in the Election Law can result in the politicizing of election committees–which will hinder their work. He reported that the OSCE experts also noticed inaccurate and ambiguous provisions. They believe that the quota of signatures to be collected for a party to participate in the elections by the proportional election system is pointless and creates complications. It was pointed out that any changes in the election committees after April 25 will cause confusion. At the same time the OSCE experts hailed the elimination of coupons enclosed to the ballot-papers.

Ruben Manoukian made a positive assessment of the new order of drawing up voter lists–which rules out the possibility of suspicious additional lists. Under the Election Law the lists are put up in polling stations 40 days before the elections. The CEC vice-chairman regarded as a positive measure the strict punishment for committing any violations during the elections and hailed the establishment of local observers.

Head of the CEC Legal Service Patvakan Hovhakimian said that some of the provisions of the Election Law can prove to be unfeasible. The elimination of the district election committees can result in some difficulties. The Yerevan Election Commission will have to control over 303 polling stations in the city and sum up the results from all polling stations. Hovhakimian said the Commission is unable to examine even a 10th of all the information. The Commission might also have difficulties in organizing the election campaigns of 240 or more candidates nominated by the majoritarian election system.

Although there are only a few days before the term of the CEC’s authorities expires the Commission continues working according to schedule. Before 6 p.m. April 15–the Commission is to accept subscription lists from 20 out of 21 parties and election blocs. The "SDU+" bloc is the only one that has submitted subscription lists up to now. Before April 25–the CEC is to conduct a selective check of the signatures.

The CEC computer center continues the registration of lists of all those who enjoy suffrage. According to the preliminary data–the number of voters will total 2,000,000–about 745 thousand of them in Yerevan. 1.7 million voters have already been registered.

The CEC representatives also reported that the OSCE Warsaw-based office for human right and democracy agreed to monitor the elections–and its representatives will arrive in Armenia in a week. A day before the elections another group of observers will arrive in Armenia to monitor the elections.

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