YEREVAN (Yerkir)—Citing the unilateral selection process, as well as his qualifications, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation parliamentary bloc Wednesday voted against the selection of the ruling coalition candidate Karen Andreasian as Armenia’s new human rights ombudsman.
This resulted in a series of questions by the ARF parliamentary faction, who called into question Andreasian’s qualifications and his commitment to protecting human rights in Armenia.
When ARF parliament member Artsvik Minasyan asked the Andreasian whether he would join the party’s recently launched voter rights movement, the candidate responded that he would have to study the provisions and, even if he did not actively join, he pledged his cooperation.
At that point, ruling Republic Party parliament member Rafik Petrosyan quickly prompted him to reject the ARF’s proposal to become part of the voter rights movement.
The leader of the ARF faction, Vahan Hovannesian saw this as an effort by the ruling party to sway the ombudsman, whose role is to be an impartial mediator on issues, and said that the “tutoring” of the candidate has led his party’s bloc to vote against the candidacy.
Another ARF bloc member, Lilit Galstian said that the only merit that warranted Andreasian’s candidacy by the ruling coalition parties was his close relations to President Serzh Sarkisian.
By a vote of 83 to 13 Andreasian, a 33-year-old and television personality, was named ombudsman and was sworn in soon thereafter.
He did not speak to journalists after leaving parliament, but prior to the vote he said his main objective was to acquaint the public with the inner-workings of the Office of the Ombudsman.
Andreasian replaces the often controversial Armen Harutiunian, who stepped resigned his post last month to serve as the representative of the UN’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to Central Asia.