Non-parliamentary Forces Invited to Join Commission on Post-Election Violence

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–The Armenian parliament’s newly formed commission tasked with conducting an inquiry into the post-election violence of March 1-2 has decided on inviting forces currently not represented in the legislature to participate in the commission’s proceedings.

With this decision, political forces that received more than three percent of the popular vote during the May 2007 parliamentary elections but less than the five percent needed to clear the hurdle to win seats in the National Assembly are entitled to have representatives with a consultative vote in the commission.

Invitations are also to be sent to the former candidates in the latest presidential elections, or their representatives, who represented a political force, with the exception of the former candidates whose political forces have a faction in the National Assembly.

The decision singles out that former presidential candidate Levon Ter-Petrosian, who ran for the office under a civic initiative, is entitled to have a representative in the commission.

As of Thursday afternoon, seven invitations have been sent out.

Besides Ter-Petrosian, the other forces invited are the National Accord party of Artashes Geghamian, the United Labor Party of Gurgen Arsenian and the New Times Party of Aram Karapetian. Also invitations were sent to former presidential candidates Tigran Karapetian, Aram Harutiunian and Vazgen Manukian.

The commission will also send letters to the Venice Commission secretary and the head of the European Union’s delegation in Armenia.

A letter of invitation is to be sent also to the newly formed Public Council asking it to have a guest representative at the commission.

The commission is also to send a letter to the opposition Zharangutyun (Heritage) faction asking it to nominate two members of the faction to serve on the commission.

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