Vice Speaker of the National Assembly, member of the RPA Political Board Arpine Hovhannisyan made a speech in the RA National Assembly during the discussion of the Government program on June 7. In her speech, the latter also touched upon the discussions on the Electoral Code, noting, “But at the same time, we have a reasonable expectation that the adoption of the Electoral Code should be in the same style and format as the current Electoral Code was adopted. There are fixed approaches that the Electoral Code was adopted inclusively and transparently, with the participation of all political forces, it was the result of a political consensus. Instead of the 63 required votes, it received more than 100 votes.”
It should be noted that in the previous parliament not 63 but 79 votes were necessary for the Electoral Code to be adopted (as there were 131 deputies in the parliament). But Arpine Hovhannisyan has been mistaken in an even more important aspect.
First, only after preparing it behind closed doors for months did they finally publish the Draft Electoral Code in the official website of the RA Government on March 2, 2016. The draft had not taken into consideration the main demands of the opposition, namely, publication of voter lists, fingerprinting, and etc.
Moreover, the draft first appeared in the website of the Venice Commission in English language, rather than in the websites of Armenian official sources.
Second, the Electoral Code was really adopted with 103 votes in favor, 4 against and 4 abstentions, but before that negotiations took place in the “4+4+4” format. Four representatives from the government, 4 from the opposition and 4 from the civil society participated in the talks. As a result of negotiations in “4 + 4 + 4” format, the document was signed only by the authorities and the opposition. The civil society did not sign the document, and issued a related statement.
Moreover, the consensus concerned only the publication of the signed lists and the introduction of electronic systems. Most of the signatory parties continued to insist on their objections in relation to a number of other provisions (in particular the rating system). In other words, there has not been a consensus on the Electoral Code as Arpine Hovhannisyan claims.