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Parliament Factions Reach Tentative Deal On Election Law Changes


By Ruzanna Khachatrian
The main factions of the Armenian parliament announced on Tuesday a tentative agreement on amendments to the election law that were proposed by its opposition minority as an additional safeguard against possible vote rigging.

The move followed a three-hour meeting between top opposition lawmakers and leaders of the pro-presidential parliamentary majority. They declined afterwards to unveil all details of the deal, saying only that the opposition agreed to water down some of its proposed changes.

A final agreement on the issue is expected to be announced by Friday. According to Tigran Torosian, the deputy speaker of the National Assembly representing its biggest Miasnutyun (Unity) faction, the draft amendments will be quickly passed by the end of this month in the event of a multi-party consensus on all issues involved.

In particular, the 28 opposition deputies of the 131-member legislature have agreed to drop their demand to give proxies of election candidates a status virtually equal to that enjoyed by members of electoral commissions. Also, Torosian told RFE/RL that Miasnutyun remains opposed to the idea of allowing those commissions to correct voter lists on the election day. The idea is backed by another major pro-government party, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun).

Presently, only courts can reinstate those voters who do not find their names in the polling stations during the voting. Inaccuracies in the voter registers have been a major problem in all recent Armenian elections.
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