Election Official Vows Transparency in Upcoming Polls

Central Electoral Committee chairman Ara Azarian

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)—Armenia’s next parliamentary and presidential elections will be “unprecedented” in terms of their transparency, Garegin Azarian, the chairman of the Central Election Commission, said on Tuesday.

Azarian said the integrity of the electoral process in the country will improve markedly already during the parliamentary race scheduled for next spring.

“The openness of these elections will be unprecedented compared with previous elections,” he told RFE/RL’s Armenian service in an interview.

Azarian based his stated optimism on fresh amendments to the Electoral Code that were enacted by the Armenian authorities in May. He singled out a new provision that requires the CEC to publicize every hour data on voter turnout from all of Armenia’s 2,000 or so polling stations.

President Serzh Sarkisian likewise stressed the importance of those amendments when he addressed the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) in Strasbourg last June. He pledged to “spare no effort” to ensure that the next Armenian elections are widely recognized as democratic.

Armenia’s leading opposition groups dismiss such statements, however. In particular, they point out that the CEC continues to be headed by Azarian, who was in charge of the last parliamentary and presidential elections marred by fraud reports.

Azarian claimed last month that elections are perceived as fraudulent by many Armenians because of opposition parties and candidates unjustly crying foul after their poor performance shown by official vote results. Sarkisian, the disputed winner of the 2008 vote, similarly complained earlier in July about the unwillingness of opposition forces to accept those results.

The Armenian National Congress said that only pre-term elections held this year could be more democratic.

Azarian insisted on Tuesday that the CEC and lower-level commissions, many of them still not formed, would be physically unable to hold snap elections. He also argued that some of the amendments to the Electoral Code will take effect on January 1.

The CEC chief at the same time did not explicitly rule out the possibility of the HAK and the government agreeing on fresh polls in their ongoing negotiations. “If they reach agreement and it will be necessary to hold pre-term elections, the Central Election Commission will find appropriate solutions together with the National Assembly,” he said.

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2 Comments

  1. The Truth said:

    come one give me a break !‎

    O´ my god please save Armenia…. The headline of the news does not promises something ‎good for Armenian….It sounds for me all this familiar! ‎

    I dislike Levon Ter-Petrosayn a lot @ Co. but Kocharian`s administration (including ‎Dashnaks!) did keep our nation busy for more than 5 years with so called “reform of ‎constitution” and promises of a free and transparent election … the end result was the events ‎of March 1 , which thanks to the radical and irresponsible actions of Levon/ ANC and ruling ‎elite did cause a great harm to our nation and so on . It seems that neither the opposition nor ‎the ruling oligarchy elite have learnt there lesson! ‎

    ‎ Fu??K .. recall the seigneur from so called “protocols”. Recognize NKR in its current ‎borders and singe all need defense documents with NKR and do not be afraid of Levon @ co ‎but instead of empty talks and organizing of vote buying procedures , allow free election ‎instead making stupid headlines line 2008 and do not kept the nation for another 5 years with ‎empty promises of “reform of electron code and constitution busy ” – enough is enough. ‎

  2. ED said:

    ‎ One should not be surprise, when people do not trust these authorities and allowing ‎themselves to be brainwashed by western propaganda ‎
    ‎ Why not have a comprises person as the chairman of the Central Election Commission ‎accepted by the majority of parties? When is this man going to resign?

    Azarian go way !

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