“Fight against Election Bribes or Encouragement?”
A discussion entitled “Fight against Election Bribes or Encouragement?” was held at Media Center on May 12, relating the social support initiative of 15 000 AMD of “Yelq” Alliance.

The speakers of the discussion were Nikolay Baghdasaryan, Lawyer from “Yelq” Alliance and Armen Grigoryan, Political Scientist. 

As it is known, “Yelq” Alliance made a statement on May 8 and promised that those who will refuse taking bribes during Yerevan Council of Elders elections, will receive a social support 15000 AMD from the municipal budget in the case “Yelq” wins the elections.   

This proposal received a great feedback in the social networks and media, where the proposal critics pointed out that the offer is a promise of a bribe on the one hand, and a step towards legitimising bribery on the other hand.

Nikolay Baghdasrayan considers the criticism to be groundless as the announcement could be considered a statement about bribe if a subject, a subjective part, an object and an objective part exist.

“The second part of Article 154 of the Code states the provisions according to which an action can be considered a bribe. They are forcing anyone to vote in favor of someone else, forcing voting against someone else, forcing participation in elections, forcing to refuse to participate in elections. If these four features do not reflect the activity of the subjective side, therefore, there is no definition of the word. I cannot understand on what features our distinguished jurists consider Nikol Pashinyan's statement. It is not a bribe but a campaign promise,” Baghdasaryan said. 

Disagreeing with Nikolay Baghdasaryan, Armen Grigoryan said that Nikol Pashinyan encourages to vote for him for money. 

“Nikol Pashinyan says I will give 15 000 AMD if you vote for me. He does not give that money in any case, only if he wins the elections. The most important issue here is that taking into account these provisions of the Electoral Code and the opposition proposes to vote for their party for money, this is actually a voting for money.”  

As a reply Nikolay Baghdasaryan said that if you accuse someone in a crime, it should be proved.

“Does the issue you have raised have a legal context? If it is a promise of bribe, is there a legal context or not? As a lawyer, I say that there must be elements of crime in the objectives side, I have all the qualities enumerated which are included in Article 154 of the Criminal Code, the word is considered a crime, if you cannot prove it, it is an offense,” the lawyer said. 

Armen Grigoryan expressed confidence that the money promised for not taking a bribe cannot be considered to be a social support as it will be provided not for the people who are in need but for all those who refused taking bribes, including wealthy people. 

However, Nikolay Baghdasaryan is confident that this is an acting mechanism against electoral bribes as there is no other option.

Armen Grigoryan does not consider this to be a struggle against electoral bribes. 

“Numerous activities conducted against electoral bribes are made meaningless when it is announced that the elections are legitimate. The citizen took money, voted and encourages the citizen to vote for money,” Grigoryan said.   

To watch the video, follow the link.  


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