YEREVAN (Combined Sources)—The Armenian Revolutionary Federation announced Tuesday that it had all mechanisms in place to monitor voting and counter any election fraud during Sunday’s municipal elections in Yerevan.
“This time we will go it alone and utilize our own representatives in each precinct to monitor the voting,” said Armen Rustamian, an ARF leader managing the party’s election campaign. He explained that the party will have two to three representatives in each of the 439 polling places.
He added that if each political party monitors its own vote, the election process would be more enhanced, given that each election in Armenia has created more problems than solutions. “We must one day step off this path.”
Rustamian, who serves as the Chairman of the ARF’s Supreme Body in Armenia, also expressed concern that throughout the election process, there has not been enough discourse regarding the importance of the municipal elections given that it is the first time such elections are taking place.
Last year, the parliament ratified an amendment to Armenia’s election code whereby the Yerevan City Council members would be elected rather than appointed by the president. The new code also stipulates that only political parties can take part in the vote, which Rustamian said made these elections a critical political turning point.
Artsvik Minasian, who leads the ARF roster of candidates and thus is the party’s pick for the mayoral race said that his party intends to bring professionalism to the Yerevan City Council, adding his belief that the eventual mayor should not be a member of the ruling party in order to create a much-needed political balance.
“I have invited the candidates to a public debate. Let everyone come and present views for developing Yerevan,” challenged Minasian. “This debate will provide our voters with an opportunity to assess and understand who is better suited to do that. If a person is ready to assume the office of the Mayor of Yerevan, he should be ready to debate with others.”