YEREVAN (ARFD.info)—The Committee on Legal Affairs of the Armenian Parliament on Wednesday agreed to discuss a proposal introduced by the Armenian Revolutionary Federation and the Heritage party that calls for drastic reforms to Armenia electoral code whereby parliamentary elections would be held on a 100-percent proportional representation.
Under the current electoral code, 90 of the 131 members of parliament are elected on the proportional system, while the remaining 41 members are elected on the single-mandate. The opposition, in its joint announcement in December, said that the single mandate systems opens the door for broad election violations and asserted that a 100-percent proportional system would minimize voter harassment and vote rigging.
The measure was rejected by the majority in the Parliament last week, yet Prosperous Armenia, a member of the ruling coalition, expressed its approval through an official filing in parliament. However, Deputy Speaker Samvel Balasanyan, a member of the Prosperous Armenia bloc called making such changes “untimely.”
Armenian Revolutionary Federation bloc chairman Vahan Hovannesian argued during committee hearings that voter do not know the deputies elected through single mandate elections, contending that those candidates do not live in the corresponding districts. He also added that while in parliament, those deputies do not even approach the podium or take an active role in legislative activities.
Results of the hearings will culminate in a vote on February 28, announced Republican Party of Armenia member Davit Harutyunyan, who chairs the committee which organized the hearings. However, he asserted that his party would oppose the measure.
“Here we have a ‘full consensus minus one’ state in the political arena, which is created by the ruling Republican Party,” stated ARF Supreme Council of Armenia representative and chairman of the Parliament’s committee on foreign relations, Armen Rustamian from the National Assembly daise.
“We do not know how they [lawmakers] will vote in the end,” Rustamian told the press. Evidently, Rustamian was referring to how the support expressed by Prosperous Armenia would play out in the ultimate vote.
Non-partisan lawmaker Lyova Khachatryan, who was elected by the majoritarian system, spoke against the single-mandate format saying that “the single-mandate format has become a turned into a vice, and all the negative phenomena that take place during elections are directly connected with the majoritarian system.”
During a heated discussion the opposition lawmakers presented reasons why they believe it is necessary to pass to 100-percent proportional system of voting. Hovannesian submitted the entire list of parliament members who were elected through the single-mandate system and outlined the ways in which they have become disconnected from the voter base, especially their constituents.
Senior members of other opposition groups not represented in the current parliament, notably the Armenian National Congress also took part in the discussion.