PACE Monitors Meet with ARF Parliamentary Faction

YEREVAN (Yerkir)–The delegation of the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly monitoring committee, headed by George Colombier met Thursday with members of the ARF faction in Parliament to discuss Armenia’s upcoming presidential elections. The committee has been following the Armenian elections since this spring and now focuses on the upcoming presidential election.
Presidential candidate and ARF Bureau Member, National Assembly Deputy Speaker Vahan Hovannesian said during the meeting that that the Election Code still has serious shortcomings that still allow for voter fraud. Noting that the ARF refrains from conducting negative campaigns and personal attacks, Hovannesian assured the monitoring committee that the organization will do whatever it takes to ensure a healthy competition of ideas in February.
Armenia’s parliament recently voted in favor of an ARF amendment to the election code that would require the passports of people who have voted to be stamped. The measure, it is believed, will make very difficult for people to vote more than once.
The Election Code is usually amended right before elections but the ARF proposes to improve the code in full, said Atiusha Shahbazian, secretary of the ARF parliamentary block.
In response to a question regarding the impartiality of media posed by Colombier, Hovannesian responded that the print media is largely independent. He added, however, that the broadcast media was not. TV networks are not economically independent and therefore lack political independence. YEREVAN (Yerkir)–The delegation of the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly monitoring committee, headed by George Colombier met Thursday with members of the ARF faction in Parliament to discuss Armenia’s upcoming presidential elections. The committee has been following the Armenian elections since this spring and now focuses on the upcoming presidential election.
ARF Bureau Member and National Assembly Deputy Speaker Vahan Hovannesian said during the meeting that that the Election Code still has serious shortcomings that still allow for voter fraud. Noting that the ARF refrains from conducting negative campaigns and personal attacks, Hovannesian assured the monitoring committee that the organization will do whatever it takes to ensure a healthy competition of ideas in February.
Armenia’s parliament recently voted in favor of an ARF amendment to the election code that would require the passports of people who have voted to be stamped. The measure, it is believed, will make very difficult for people to vote more than once.
The Election Code is usually amended right before elections but the ARF proposes to improve the code in full, said Atiusha Shahbazian, secretary of the ARF parliamentary block.
In response to a question regarding the impartiality of media posed by Colombier, Hovhannesian responded that the print media is largely independent. He added, however, that the broadcast media was not. TV networks are not economically independent and therefore lack political independence.

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