Javakhk Armenians May Boycott Upcoming Parliamentary Elections

AKHALKALAK, Georgia (A-Info)–Upcoming May 21 parliamentary elections in Georgia may not be very promising for national minorities and may result in a boycott of the polls by the Armenia’s, according to two community leaders.
“The May 21 parliamentary election in Georgian cannot promise anything good for national minorities,” said chairman of the “Virk” party Davit Rstakian. While Artak Gabrielian, a representative of Armenian organizations in Samtskhe-Javakheti said that the elections could be boycotted.
Rstakian based his assertion on recent changes in Georgia’s election code which prohibits individuals not belonging to a political party to register as candidates in the single-mandate list. The new law bans individuals who are not affiliated with a political party or have not received a party’s blessing for their candidacy to run for office.
Rstakian explained that since most minorities are in opposition of political forces loyal to the state that would limit their participation in the elction. He added that the law was changes specifically to impact minorities. Specifically for Javakhkk-Armenia’s, individuals calling for self-government and the protection of the Armenian language would never have an opportunity to run for office.
The party leader also said that opposition parties have explained that candidates who call for self-rule or language preservation might hinder the party’s chances to secure wins across the country.
The Armenian in Javakhk are convinced that the authorities and opposition forces are in collusion to violation of the Armenian population’s rights as Georgian citizens.
“The refusal to register candidates defending the rights of the Armenian population in Georgia, as well as the refusal, by political parties, to register such candidates or provide them with not desirable spots in party lists give cause for boycotting the elections,” said Rstakian.
Gabrielian also echoed similar sentimen’s, saying that as long as opposition parties refuse to register Armenian candidates in their list or support their candidacies in single-mandate lists, the community would be forced to boycott the elections.
“It is clear that a citizen of Georgia of Armenian descent, who defends human rights, is being equally rejected by the authorities and the opposition,” added Gabrielian.

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