By Ruzanna Khachatrian
Armenia’s new Central Election Commission (CEC) convened for the first time on Monday to elect its leadership.
During the meeting that lasted only seven minutes, the eight-member body unanimously elected the president-nominated representative to the CEC, Garegin Azarian, chairman. This will be the third consecutive term for the 46-year-old justice councilor of the second rank.
Azarian, who has been criticized by the Armenian opposition for allegedly mishandling election processes in the country during his two successive terms, said the overwhelming vote of confidence in him and the other elected top commission representatives from their colleagues gives an opportunity to “have a better preparation for the next [presidential] elections” and improve teamwork.
In a brief conversation with reporters Azarian advocated a number of changes in the country’s electoral code mainly concerning voting and tabulation procedures.
“These procedures must be simplified in order to make it possible to ensure their implementation,” he said. “We proceed from the experience that we had during the latest elections to the National Assembly. The envisaged complex procedures give nothing, but create additional difficulties.”
Prosperous Armenia Party representative Harutiun Shahbazian and Abraham Bakhchagulian of the Republican Party of Armenia were unanimously elected deputy chairman and secretary of the CEC, respectively.