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United States Ambassador John Heffern believes the Armenian opposition and civil society, too, have a role in ensuring free and fair elections by challenging the government to live up to its promise.

In his remarks made at a news conference in Yerevan on Thursday Heffern stressed that the United States welcomes the assurances made by the political leadership in Armenia that the parliamentary elections scheduled for May 6 will compare favorably to all the previous votes held in the former Soviet state. At the same time, he challenged the local opposition, civil society groups and the media to do more to make sure the government delivers on its promise.

“When assurances like that are given at the highest level and with the clarity that they have been given with, we assume that it means something and that it will be implemented as promised. At the conference hosted by the prosecutor-general on Friday the prime minister reiterated those assurances. So he is on the record, as is the president and everybody in the government here to implement the new election law as drafted and make these elections free and fair,” Heffern said. “But it is not just his job to do that. The opposition parties have a role, the civil society has a role, the press has a role to hold the government to its promise of free and fair elections.”

The U.S. ambassador spoke to the local media after witnessing USAID Armenia Mission Director Jatinder Cheema and Armenian Ombudsman Karen Andreasian signing a Memorandum of Understanding between the two agencies regarding their future cooperation.
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