The main governing Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) denies the recent meeting of its leading members amounted to forming election headquarters some five months before the parliamentary vote is expected.
Such accusations have been voiced by the HHK’s main opposition rival, the Armenian National Congress (HAK).
HAK member David Matevosian claimed on Wednesday by effectively forming its election campaign headquarters and holding its meeting the previous night the HHK violated the election law that does not allow political parties, blocs or candidates to set up and operate campaigns before the date of the vote is officially set.
Last month Parliament Speaker and senior member of the HHK Hovik Abrahamian announced his resignation after receiving an offer from HHK leader and current President of Armenia Serzh Sarkisian to manage the May 2012 parliamentary elections. Abrahamian said his resignation from what is the second most important post in the state by the constitution will help avoid possible accusations of power abuse in the election period. Shortly after that, President Sarkisian’s influential son-in-law and aide Mikael Minasian left his job at the presidential administration and was said to be assigned to assist Abrahamian in the latter’s new capacity as the HHK’s election campaign manager.
“If they, indeed, left public office in order to promote free elections, then they had to do it only after the Election Day is set in a manner prescribed by law. Campaign headquarters are not allowed to be opened before that,” the HAK’s Matevosian said.
The participants of the Tuesday gathering at the HHK’s central office, however, denied it was an early assembly of the future campaign staff, describing it as a regular working meeting of some of the party officials.
In particular, HHK lawmaker Hovhannes Sahakyan said the meeting was no violation of the country’s laws.
Silva Markosian, a member of Armenia’s Central Election Commission, also insisted that none of the political parties have yet set up their campaigns. The official said the meeting at the HHK office could not be a meeting of the election campaign headquarters because “the law does not allow that.”