19 November 2012, 23:00

Statement of Armenian public organizations about extraordinary session of the National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia on November 21, 2012

As a rule, elections in the Republic of Armenia are accompanied by numerous violations of the law and tricky falsification mechanisms; thus, the legitimacy of the bodies recognized elected by these elections and the existence of the constitutional electoral system as a whole are challenged. Meanwhile, transparent and free elections are the key element of democracy and a prerequisite for existence of a democratic state. Only such elections can guarantee the core principle fixed in Article 2 of the Constitution, reading: "The power in the Republic of Armenia belongs to the people..."; and only the state authorities formed by the people and enjoying the people's confidence are able to ensure efficient political, economic and social reforms in the country.

In February 2013, Armenia will hold its presidential election; and in this context the political forces have begun their preparatory work; among other steps, they propose amendments to the Electoral Code of the Republic of Armenia.

The studies conducted by Armenian public organizations have shown that although many of the election violations in the country are caused by improper use of the law, however, opportunities for using the basic mechanisms that question the legitimacy of elections and elected bodies are also hidden in the Electoral Code. They include, in particular, abuse of administrative resources, inflated voter lists, a variety of falsification during the voting process, and inefficient mechanisms of protesting, which are "protected" by the electoral legislation, and, therefore, may call into question the results of any elections held under these conditions.

Based on all the aforesaid, we, the undersigned public organizations, hereby welcome the initiative of political forces aimed at amending and adding the Electoral Code and the other associated legislation and urge the parliamentary factions of the National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia, along with putting forward their own proposals, also to consider the proposals drafted by the civil society.

In this regard, we calls upon all political forces, including the Republican Party of Armenia, having the majority in the National Assembly, not to boycott the extraordinary session to be convened on November 21 this year, and to provide for – before the upcoming presidential election – making the amendments in the Electoral Code of the Republic of Armenia, which are in tune with the proposals of the political minority and civil society, resulting in a substantial repair of the major deficiencies of the electoral legislation.

We believe that the Armenian authorities must take concrete and immediate steps to reinstate the public confidence in the electoral system and to express the political will to achieve a real improvement of the Electoral Code, and organize free, fair and transparent elections, starting from the presidential election in February 2013.

Association "Legitimate Europe"

Vanadzor Office of the Helsinki Civil Assembly

"Rights Defence Without Borders"

"Transparency International"

"Rule of Law"

November 19, 2012

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