By Ruzanna Khachatrian
A special commission formed last March by President Robetr Kocharian continues to look into alleged widepsread fraud in the Armenian presidential election and will present its findings after this month's parliamentary polls, a spokesman said on Wednesday.
Ashot Kocharian, the presidential press secretary, told RFE/RL that the commission comprising officials from the president's staff and the Justice Ministry will come up with a detailed assessment of significant irregularities reported by international election observers.
The ad hoc body was set up on March 17 in response to strong Western criticism of the Armenian authorities' handling of the two-round vote which gave Kocharian a second term in office. The presidential administration said at the time that the inquiry will be completed within ten days. Reasons for the delay are not clear.
Spokesman Kocharian echoed Armenian leaders' arguments that a lack of democratic traditions makes it difficult for Armenia to meet Western standards for free and fair elections. "For a country that has been independent for only 12 years the bar is set a bit high," he said. "But we have international obligations and must respect them."
Officials from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the Council of Europe complain that the Armenian authorities have not yet prosecuted anyone in connection with electoral fraud.