RSC ACTIVITIES IN SUPPORT OF EU’S EASTERN PARTNERSHIP

The Regional Studies Center (RSC) has actively supported the European Union’s Eastern Partnership (EaP) program and as an active member of the Eastern partnership Civil Society Forum, contributes to the deepening of ties and association between the EU and Armenia, as well as the other five members of the EaP (Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine, Belarus and Azerbaijan).

As part of our commitment to the Eastern Partnership (EaP), RSC Director Richard Giragosian participated in a meeting on 21 March of the EaP Civil Society Forum’s Armenian National Platform, which comprises some 200 Armenian civil society organizations (CSOs). As a member of Working Group 1, dealing with “Democracy, Human Rights, Good Governance and Stability,” the RSC also supported the role and engagement of the Armenian National Platform in the process of the development of Armenia’s new Electoral Code. The participants also emphasized the necessity of the active participation of CSF Armenian National Platform in the public hearings on the new Electoral Code, as well as the importance of presenting a united position of civil society in the negotiations with the Armenian authorities.

A statement, prepared by several NGOs on the new Electoral Code, was also voted on and subsequently adopted on 24 March. The statement expresses its solidarity with the process aimed at ensuring public engagement in the discussions over the new Electoral Code and presents five specific demands, based on the recognition that “the most widespread types of election fraud registered during the elections in Armenia in the recent years (especially the Constitutional referendum), the lack of public confidence towards electoral processes, as well as the content of the Electoral Code submitted to the National Assembly,” require that “a real change in the quality of electoral processes” can only be achieved if five concrete measures are included in the Electoral Code:

  1. The publication of the lists signed by the voters (lists of voting participants);
  1. The “cleaning” or updating of voter lists by relying on the successful practice used in neighboring Georgia. In particular, citizens who are not residing in the country should be identified, and there should be a special note about their absence from the country next to their names in the voter lists;
  1. Holding parliamentary elections by proportional representation system with simple (closed) national proportional electoral lists, excluding the application of district and preferential (ranked choice) electoral lists;
  1. The video recording of the entire voting process and vote count in the polling stations by at least five standard-quality cameras (as a responsibility of the state), with the video cameras targeting the ballot box, the process of voter registration and allocation of ballot papers, the polling station and its entrance;
  1. The application of a modern fingerprint identification system or the introduction of the practice of applying lasting ink to the finger of each voter, including ink invisible to the naked eye, as a means to ensure proper voter identification.

For the full text of the statement, see: https://eaparmenianews.wordpress.com/2016/03/25/issue-239/