After the Velvet revolution that took place in Armenia, one of the principal and significant steps of the new government should be holding snap parliamentary elections which, however, have to be held through a modified and improved Electoral Code.
The RA citizen should not face illegalities and should not be pressured by administrative and financial levers on her/his way to realize their fundamental right–the right to elect. The further development of the Republic of Armenia depends on the free choice of the RA citizen. Thus, supporting the process of amending the RA Electoral Code initiated by the new government, taking into consideration the necessity of precisely operating electoral mechanisms, Free Democrats PP presents a package of proposals that will foster making the electoral process in the RA free, transparent and credible for every citizen of the RA and political power.
Free Democrats Party considers the change of the current electoral system a priority – to pass on to a simple proportional electoral system since during the 2017 parliamentary election the so-called rating system, alongside several issues, not only turned out to prevent holding free and fair elections, but also contributed to the transfer of political competition to the field of administrative levers and financial resources distorting the political picture of the election results.
Free Democrats Party proposes:
- Article 77 of the RA Electoral Code formulate as follows: “Elections of the National Assembly are held by proportional electoral system, through a common list of political parties and political alliances from one multi-mandate constituency that encompasses the entire territory of the Republic.”
- Part 1 of Article 83 of the RA Electoral Code formulate as follows: “Each party (party alliance) participating in elections nominates a national electoral list of candidates which may consist of two parts.”
- Part 8 of Article 83 of the RA Electoral Code formulate as follows: “National electoral lists of a party (party alliance) are approved and nominated upon the decision of the permanent governing body of the party (upon the decision of the permanent governing bodies of member parties of an alliance). All the pages of national electoral lists are sealed and signed by an authorized person of a party (member parties of an alliance).”
- Eliminate the barrier to form coalitions defined by the Electoral Code. Specifically, formulate Article 97 of the Electoral Code as follows: “Within six days after adopting the decision put forward by the 2nd paragraph of the Part 1, Article 95 of the Electoral Code, any party, party alliance that has overcome electoral barriers may form a political coalition with other parties (party alliances) that have also overcome electoral barriers if the total number of their votes is sufficient for receiving 54 percent of the mandates and they have come to an agreement on the candidate for the prime minister.”
- The formulation in Part 2, Article 141 of the RA Electoral Code stating that “in case of parties – 6, and in case of party alliance – 8 percent” replace by “in case of parties – 5, and in case of party alliance – 7 percent.”
- In Part 6, Article 19 of the RA Electoral Code, clarify the statement on providing services or promising goods to charity or voters on a gratuitous or privileged condition. Specifically, prohibit candidates, parties that participate in elections, personally or on behalf of them or in any other way to give (promise) the voters in a gratuitous or privileged conditions money, food, securities, goods or provide (promise) services not only during the pre-election campaign, before and after the voting day, but since the official election day announced by the CEC. Also, add the following formulation: “In case of proceedings described by Article 19.6 of the RA Electoral Code, the CEC cancels the registration of the candidate involved on the electoral list of parties (party alliances), and the given candidate is later deprived of the right to be nominated for regular (snap) elections prescribed by the Electoral Code.”
- Remove Part 14 of Article 144 included in the trnasitional and final provisions of the RA Electoral which sets out gender ratio in the national electoral list of each of a political party, party alliance and member parties of an alliance and enforce Part 4, Article 83 of the RA Electoral Code, which defines a ratio of 70/30 per cent for each gender included in the national electoral list.
- To exclude double voting it is necessary to exercise the mechanism of stamping the voter’s finger into ink.
- Establish a single server for registering voter data which, in parallel with operating technical devices located in electoral precincts, will give an opportunity to exclude double voting.
- Cooperating with all relevant bodies clear the electoral lists as much as possible.
- Reserve the responsibility of formulating electoral commissions to the State, members of commission being public servants, e.g., employees of the RA Police, Ministry of Emergency Situations, etc. Thus, the government also undertakes the political responsibility for conducting as well as maintaining free and fair electoral processes at the level of commissions.
To exclude electoral bribes, use of administrative resources as well as serving of possible charity to get a vote, we also propose to amend the RA Criminal Code – categorizing such crimes as serious ones, toughening the election process as well as the size of penalty intended against electoral bribes that cast a shadow over election results.
- Toughen the punishment defined by Article 154 of the RA Criminal Code (violation of voting confidentiality), in particular, eliminate the penalty in the amount of five hundred to seven hundred minimum salaries and establish imprisonment for a term of at least five years.
- Mitigate the punishment (negligently giving a false statement on voting instead of another person) put forward by Article 154.8 of the RA Criminal Code. Specifically, eliminate imprisonment planned for up to 2 years and only establish a penalty in the amount of two hundred to three hundred minimal salaries.
Justification – Criminalization of the acts defined by Article 154.8 of the Criminal Code prevents the law enforcement agencies from getting possible reports from the citizens on the crimes described in the above mentioned article. This can also be a psychological pressure on those citizens who have reported or have learned about such violations.
- Toughen the punishment defined by Article 154 9.1 of the RA Criminal Code, in particular, eliminate the penalty in the amount of five hundred to seven hundred minimum salaries and establish imprisonment for a term of three to five years.
- Toughen the punishment (using the authority derived from the position or election bribe mediation in official position) defined by Article 154 9.2 of the RA Criminal Code, in particular, replacing the imprisonment of three to five years by a term of five to seven years, and depriving the person who has committed the given crime of the right to hold certain positions or engage in certain activities for a maximum of a three-year term.