“Pre-Election Violence and Repressions: Why are not the Culprits Punished?”
07.03.2017
12:00
Violence cases for political reasons during the pre-election campaign in various regions of Armenia are the consequence of instable political culture, on the one hand and the so-called “rating” electoral lists, on the other hand.

“Usually during different elections, we were witnessing the clashes between different representatives, mainly between representatives nominated by majoritarian system. At present, this intolerance has deepened and it is due to the new Electoral Code. It is about the so-called rating electoral lists,” Elinar Vardanyan, Chair of NA Standing Committee on Protection of Human Rights and Public Affairs, MP Candidate of “Ohanyan-Raffi-Oskanyan” Alliance, said.

The campaign of the Parliamentary Elections in Armenia launched on March 5 but there are already cases of violence with political inducements. There has been a brawl between the team members of Murad Muradyan and Arayik Grigoryan, representatives of the Republican Party of Armenia and candidates, in the city of Masis. The supporters of Bazmaser Arakelyan, Former member of the Prosperous Armenia Party (PAP) and the current member of the Republican Party of Armenia, beat one of the supporters of the Armenian Revolutionary Party. Recently, a Republican representative stabbed PAP activist in Sayat-Nova village, Ararat region.

Elinar Vardanyan, Chair of NA Standing Committee on Protection of Human Rights and Public Affairs, MP Candidate of “Ohanyan-Raffi-Oskanyan” Alliance, Zoya Tadevosyan, MP Candidate of “ANC-People’s Party” Alliance, Bagrat Yesayan, MP Candidate, Member of Armenian Revolutionary Party, Vahe Enfiajyan, MP of PAP Faction, participated in the discussion entitled “Pre-Election Violence and Repressions: Why are not the Culprits Punished?” at Media Center on March 7.

“Separation is typical of the Armenian society – residents of Yerevan, residents of Abovyan, and even there has been a separation within the team which is because of the rate lists,” she said expressing confidence that there are basis for the society to divide in groups and began a fight against each other.  

Zoya Tadevosyan is convinced that it would not be possible to prevent violence in near future as in reality there is not a proportional but 100% majoritarian electoral system in Armenia. “Rating lists are the vivid example of the above-mentioned. These violations are not possible to prevent as unfortunately there is 100% majoritarian electoral system. It is not possible to vote for a party without a majoritarian candidate, all the votes come due to the majoritarian candidate,” Tadevosyan said.

Although the campaign has just started, Vahe Enfiajyan says there have been incidents. “Use of force, preaching fear will bring no good, and they are incompatible with the high values. Violence cases should be condemned and actions should be initiated within the law. These types of issues should be settled unambiguously in the legal field,” Vahe Enfiajyan said, adding that rating lists led to a situation when there are disagreements within individual political teams. “We should do everything so that these differences do not receive unwanted manifestations,” he said. 

Bagrat Yesayan did not agree with his colleagues that the rating lists are the main reason for pre-election violence.  “Violence is not acceptable but it is not a new phenomenon. There were publications before and after all the elections in Armenia,” the speaker said adding that the cases of violence prove the lack of democratic traditions in our state.    

“I do not think this is a new phenomenon and emerged as a result of the new system. Rating system is not ideal but we should not consider the whole system to be defective,” he said. 

The participants of the discussion expect all law enforcement agencies to be operative in the cases of violence, to take preventive measures and make prompt and impartial investigation.

To watch the video, follow the link.  

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

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

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