New Election Body Meets To Pick Its Leadership

By Ruzanna Khachatrian

Radio Liberty, Czech Rep.
Aug 6 2007

Armenia’s new Central Election Commission (CEC) convened for the
first time on Monday to elect its leadership.

During the meeting that lasted only seven minutes, the eight-member
body unanimously elected the president-nominated representative to
the CEC, Garegin Azarian, chairman. This will be the third consecutive
term for the 46-year-old justice councilor of the second rank.

Azarian, who has been criticized by the Armenian opposition for
allegedly mishandling election processes in the country during his
two successive terms, said the overwhelming vote of confidence in
him and the other elected top commission representatives from their
colleagues gives an opportunity to "have a better preparation for
the next [presidential] elections" and improve teamwork.

In a brief conversation with reporters Azarian advocated a number of
changes in the country’s electoral code mainly concerning voting and
tabulation procedures.

"These procedures must be simplified in order to make it possible
to ensure their implementation," he said. "We proceed from the
experience that we had during the latest elections to the National
Assembly. The envisaged complex procedures give nothing, but create
additional difficulties."

Prosperous Armenia Party representative Harutiun Shahbazian and Abraham
Bakhchagulian of the Republican Party of Armenia were unanimously
elected deputy chairman and secretary of the CEC, respectively.