22 Oct 2018 17:56

Armenian parliament rejects govt-proposed amendments to elections code

YEREVAN. Oct 22 (Interfax) - The Armenian parliament has voted against the changes to the electoral code proposed by the government, based on which it was proposed to hold early parliamentary elections in December.

Only 56 deputies voted for the bill, which needed at least 63 votes to pass, an Interfax correspondent reported.

Earlier, the Republican Party led by ex-president Serzh Sargsyan spoke out against the changes.

"The key proposals on the draft changes to the Electoral Code submitted by the parliamentary factions were ignored by the government. The draft changes were submitted by the government to the parliament on October 17, which means that the factions had only two full working days to become familiar with it," the Republican Party said in a statement released on Monday.

The draft document was hastily submitted to the parliament and the Venice Commission, the party said.

"The Venice Commission had no way of conducting a discussion and making a decision. For the first time, the commission was deprived of the opportunity to present its position and expectations of changes on the basis of its proposals. There is no opinion from the OSCE ODIHR, either. The government's haste deprives political parties of the possibility of preparing for the election, of revising their strategy. Such an approach violates international standards. The Republican Party opposes the proposed project," the statement said.

The government-proposed amendments would cancel the current ranked-voting system and reduce the threshold for parties from 5% to 4% and from 7% to 6% for party blocs. The Armenian parliament would have to guarantee representation to at least four political forces instead of the current three, and the fourth force would require 2% of the vote to win representation.

At least 30% of the members of the new parliament of Armenia would have to be women, against the current 25%.