Political Parties Reached Consensus on the Electoral Code and Now They are Looking for 15 Million Euros
17.06.2016
12:00
The Electoral Code, adopted recently by the National Assembly, will be amended. An agreement was reached on a new set of amendments as a result of long negotiations between the opposition and government representatives in the "4 + 4 + 4" format. On June 16, they adopted a joint statement, which the civil society representatives did not join. They were not satisfied by the compromise on the amendments, and therefore, they preferred to abstain and issue a separate statement.

During the press conference on “The political parties signed a statement on agreement about the Electoral Code” at Media Center on June 17, the Chairman of the National Assembly Standing Committee on State and Legal Issues, “Republican Party” Faction member Hovhannes Sahakyan said that the parties reached consensus after very hard negotiations.  

“Consensus was reached mainly about the following provisions. Lists of voters who participated in the elections will be available and under control of the parties; even for those parties which have no committee members or proxies in a specific precinct. Voters will vote only with identification cards, which the state will provide free of charge before the elections. Before the vote, the ten fingerprints of voters will be checked. Cameras will be installed in all 2000 polling stations, the voting process will also be broadcasted live,” Sahakyan said.  

The new set of the amendments will be discussed and adopted in an extraordinary regime. “The Government will hold an extraordinary session, the package will be submitted to the National Assembly which will discuss and adopt it by the end of this month,” he said and added that “the base stone for the transparent elections was set.”   

However, as it turned out at the press conference, the agreed- upon provisions will not be brought to life surely, because it requires large financial resources. As the Press Secretary of the Armenian National Congress Aram Manukyan noted, these changes have a price, and that price is 15 million euros. "Now the government and all the political forces that put their signature under this statement should apply to donor organizations to negotiate with them and raise the money. But particularly important is the initiative and activity of the government as all the leverages are concentrated in the hands of the Government," he said and added that the consensus does not relate to the whole Electoral Code.  

“This concerns only the provisions on which there is an agreement. This also does not mean that the opposition has changed its attitude towards the Government or this guarantees totally fair elections. No, this is only a chance to make the electoral procedure more transparent and controllable,” Aram Manukyan said and considered the amendments package to be an “unprecedented achievement”. “But this document is the first step as the implementation of this document will be very challenging, the obstacles will be many,” he said. 

According to the amendments, two cameras will be installed, one at the entrance of the polling station, another - inside it.  “What quality they will have depends on the funding. Besides, the procedure will be broadcasted online and any person can follow,” Manukyan said.

Though the civil society did not join the statement of the political forces, Aram Manukyan highly valued their investment. “They did big wok, submitted a package of amendments. But the Government did not agreed with all the proposals. For example, the provision about the activity of the journalists in the polling stations is worse in the new code than in the previous one,” Manukyan said.  

Arshaluys Mghdesyan, editor/events coordinator at “Media Center”

To contact the author please send an email to arshaluismghdesyan@pjc.am.

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