European Monitors Meet With ARF Representatives


06.12.2007 17:09

YEREVAN (YERKIR) – The delegation of the Council of Europe’s
Parliamentary Assembly monitoring committee, headed by co-rapporteur
George Colombier, met on December 6 with the members of the ARF
faction in parliament.

The committee has been following the Armenian elections since this
spring and now focuses on the upcoming presidential election. Vahan
Hovhannisyan, a National Assembly deputy speaker and a member of
the ARF faction, said that the party denies personalized clashes
and negative advertising, adding that the party will do whatever it
takes to hold elections on the political level and have a healthy
competition of ideas. He said that the Election Code still has serious
shortcomings, including possibilities for multiple voting and the
fact that the lists of voters who have participated in the cote are
not available.

The parliament voted recently in favor of an ARF amendment to the
code to put a stamp in the passports of people who have already voted:
this measure will make it hard to vote again.

Atiusha Shahbazian, the secretary of the ARF faction, said that usually
the Election Code is amended right before elections; the ARF proposes
to improve the code in full.

In response to Colombier’s request to comment on the impartiality
of the media, Hovhannisian said that the print media looks to be
fine. This cannot be said about the broadcast media, he said, because
the TV’s are truying to avoid pressures from tax authorities in case
they air programs with opposition politicians. "We can speak about
TV channels’ political independence only if they are economically
independent," he added.

Colombier promised to take the voiced proposals into account in
future discussions.

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