Elections in Armenia: new Parliament in a parliamentary Republic
YEREVAN, 2 Jun — RIA Novosti. Elections to the National Assembly — the unicameral Parliament of Armenia will take place on Sunday. They will be the first after the inclusion in the Constitution of the country changes involving the transition to a parliamentary form of government.
A referendum on the amendments was held on 6 December 2015 and will end the process of transition to a new form of government a year after the expiration of office of the incumbent head of state Serzh Sargsyan. He will be the last President to be elected by popular vote — 2018 nominal head of state already performs a representative function, will choose the Parliament, which pass all power in the Republic.
For the first time in the history of Armenia parliamentary elections will be held exclusively according to the proportional electoral system. In addition to nationwide party lists, in 13 electoral districts of the Republic will be submitted to the territorial (ranked) lists of candidates to Parliament of the representatives of parties and blocs.
The Parliament of the new type
The new Constitution radically alters the mechanisms of acquisition and structure of the National Assembly. The basic Law does not specify fixed number of members of Parliament, specifies only the minimum number of 101 deputies. Four more places will be provided to representatives of the major national minorities — Yezidis, Russians, Assyrians and Kurds. There is also the need for the formation of a stable parliamentary majority — 54% of the seats.
If the results of the elections or the formation of a political coalition of stable majority is not formed, on the 28th day from the date of the vote could be conducted a second round, which will be attended by the two party or two bloc of parties that received the highest number of votes. The winner of the second round will receive additional mandates, which provide him with a stable majority and the right to form the government.
One of the “architects” of constitutional reforms, a specialist of constitutional right Vardan Poghosyan, before the referendum said that a second round deprives the political forces of the opportunity to form a government through coalition behind the backs of voters. “This is to ensure that voters were able to participate in the formation not only of Parliament but of the government directly, no secret coalitions,” — said Pogosyan.
Another constitutional innovation — the paragraph about the so-called “organic” or “constitutional” laws of the foundations of the state system. Such laws are regulations of the National Assembly, Electoral and Judicial codes, laws on the constitutional court, referenda, political parties, human rights Defender. Taken with a simple majority and three fifths of the deputies.
In connection with the new electoral system has changed and the form of the ballot. For each batch are printed in separate ballots of the same size. The first page includes the name of the party, it issued a number, and also surnames, names and patronymics of first three candidates in the nationwide electoral list. On the second page of the Bulletin — the names of candidates included in the territorial lists.
The voter chooses only one ballot — the party which intends to cast your vote. Before dropping the envelope in the box, he can vote for the rating of the candidate of that party nominated in a specific territorial district by checking the box on the second page. On the first page, no marks are placed. Unused ballots are thrown in a separate box in the voting booth.
Parliamentary seats of party and the blocks produced as a result of distribution of seats among the candidates on the national rating lists.
The use of electronic processing devices and the counting of votes is not provided, but for the first time will apply the technical means of registration of voters, connected to each other via a local network. “Thus we will prevent the re — vote,” – said RIA Novosti, the Minister-chief of government staff, Minister David Harutyunyan. In addition, the sites will be video recording of the voting process, which will be broadcast on the Internet.
Who is who
For seats in the Parliament are fighting over 1,5 thousand candidates from five parties and four blocs.
The main applicant for a victory — headed by President Serzh Sargsyan Republican party of Armenia, in power for almost 20 years.
The main competitor of the Republican party was the bloc of “prosperous Armenia”, created one of the biggest entrepreneurs of Armenia Gagik Tsarukyan. “I declare with all responsibility that we go to the polls to obtain an absolute majority. But if we, God forbid, will not get 50% plus one vote, and 47% or 48%, we are going to deal with any political force to form a coalition. But certainly not going to do that with one power — the Republican party of Armenia”, — said the representative of the bloc Naira Zohrabyan.
Tsarukyan, who has extensive contacts in the business community, including foreign ones, and promised, if elected, to attract investments in the amount of $ 15 billion. This is a giant for Armenia, the amount of GDP is 10.4 billion dollars. The popularity of block “Tsarukyan” experts explain the frustration of voters and the Pro-government and opposition parties.
Another block of the political Union of the Armenian national Congress and people’s party of Armenia (“Congress-ANC”) is headed by the first President of Armenia Levon Ter-Petrosyan.
The main focus of the Alliance makes on the need for a compromise settlement of the Karabakh conflict. Ter-Petrosyan is the only participating in the elections, the leader openly declaring the possibility of territorial concessions in Karabakh conflict settlement process. In the election program of the bloc States that the reconciliation will ensure the security of both Armenia and Karabakh.
Block “Ohanyan-Raffi-Oskanyan” created ex-defense Minister of Armenia Seyran Ohanian, and former foreign Ministers Raffi Hovhannisyan and Vardan Oskanyan. Judging by the statements of the leaders of this Association stronger all configured and pre-announces a protest if rigging. This is the only political force that stands ready to street fighting. The social promises of the Alliance does not differ significantly from other participants: poverty reduction, mitigation of social polarization, system integration for a dignified retirement, access to healthcare and education.
The opposition bloc “EFC” (Exodus) led by member of Parliament Nikol Pashinyan, his colleague Edmond Marukyan and the party leader “Republic” Aram Sargsyan, the former Prime Minister and the younger brother killed October 1999 by terrorists Prime Minister Vazgen Sargsyan. During the election campaign Pashinyan exposes government to criticism and promises to find a way out of the difficult socio-political crisis. Their main goal Pashinyan considers the fight against corruption and bring the economy out of the shadows.
Set for parties of five percent barrier can be overcome and the party of “Armenian Renaissance” (ex – “Orinats Yerkir”), headed by former speaker of Parliament and ex-Secretary of security Council of Armenia Arthur Baghdasaryan.
The party promises to develop the program of construction of social housing, to create in areas of the country, the network of free kindergartens and to develop mechanisms that guarantee children receive free education.
Armenian revolutionary Federation Dashnaktsutyun (ARF-d) — traditional party Patriotic sense, created in 1890. The ARF has a stable electorate, by which it can ensure its presence in Parliament.
The party “Free Democrats” headed by Khachatur Kokobelyan only participating in the elections a political force, occupying a clearly Pro-Western stance. In its election program there is a clause on withdrawal of Armenia from the Eurasian economic Union. “European integration is the priority of Armenia’s foreign policy and Armenia’s membership in the EU — a strategic vision”, — stated in the party program. The document as a long-term goal stated Armenia’s accession to NATO.
Also taking part in the elections Communist party of Armenia, but, according to opinion polls, the chances of passage to Parliament it is zero.
The leaders of the opinion polls
According to the survey conducted by the Russian center for public opinion studies (VTSIOM) March 17-24, among 1.6 thousand inhabitants of Armenia, the RPA ahead of the block “Tsarukyan” weighted rating is based on the party’s candidates, gaining 44% against 36%.
At the same time, answering the question, “which of the parties you most likely would vote in the elections if they were held next Sunday?”, 41% undecided, called block “Tsarukyan”, 39% for RPA.
Taking into account all respondents, including those who refused to answer and difficult to answer, “Tsarukyan” gaining 22%, and RPA 21%. According to forecasts, the total numerical superiority will ensure the RPA “ranking” candidates in districts that are expected to gather the additional votes for himself, and automatically, by the nominating party.
The chances for passage in Parliament also has the ARF, on the verge of overcoming the barrier — block “EFC” and the party “Armenian Renaissance”.
Elections will be monitored over 28 thousand representatives of 49 local organizations and international observers from the OSCE Office for democratic institutions and human rights of the Organization for security and cooperation in Europe (OSCE/ODIHR), the parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Commonwealth of independent States, Interparliamentary Assembly of the CIS, the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly and the European Parliament. The number of international observers — more than 640.
They were joined by a few foreign stars of Armenian origin. In particular, the official observers passed a special course, became a soloist of the famous American rock band System of a Down, Serj Tankian, canadian Director and screenwriter Atom Egoyan, his wife, actress arsine Khanjyan.
Cover the course of the voting will be over 1.2 thousand representatives of the local press, and about 100 employees three dozen foreign media, more than half of which are Russian.
Election day 2009 will be open polling stations. In the register of electors included more than 2.56 million citizens. The electoral legislation of Armenia does not provide for the opening of polling stations outside the country. Abroad to Armenian citizens — diplomats and members of their families, soldiers, students participated in an electronic vote held on March 24-26. In the lists of electronic voting were included 877.
Voting will start on 2 April, at 08.00 local time (07.00 GMT) and will end at 20.00 (19.00 GMT). Saturday was declared a “day of silence” and was prohibited from any campaigning.
On the voting day the Central election Commission will report the turnout of voters every three hours. The turnout in the elections is not provided.
The CEC will summarize the preliminary results of voting in the elections not later than 24 hours after their completion, and final results will be presented through the week.
The intention to hold 2 APR exit polls reported by an international research Agency Gallup International. In the Central electoral Commission declare that it is a voluntary procedure, and the CEC it does not control.
According to the Constitution, elections are held not earlier than sixty and not later than fifty days prior to the expiration of the term of the National Assembly. The Parliament is elected for five years. The powers of the newly elected Parliament begins with the opening of the first session, convened on the day of expiry of the term of office of the previous convocation.
National Assembly by a majority of votes shall elect from its members a Chairman and three deputies. One of the deputies is elected from among the deputies, included in the opposition factions.