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Opposition Dismisses Claims On ‘Unconstitutionality’ Of Voter List Publication


Armenia -- Opposition leader Levon Zurabian at a press conference. 15Dec., 2015

Armenia -- Opposition leader Levon Zurabian at a press conference. 15Dec., 2015

A leader of the main opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK) party discards as a lie the claims by Deputy Parliament Speaker Eduard Sharmazanov that post-election publication of the names of voters who go to the polls is prohibited under a Constitutional Court ruling.

In an interview with RFE/RL’s Armenian Service (Azatutyun.am) on Wednesday Sharmazanov, who is also a spokesman for the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK), insisted that the government does not publish the signed voter lists after elections and does not want this provision to be incorporated in the next Electoral Code because it does not want to violate a relevant decision of the Constitutional Court. “In Armenia or any other country authorities have no right to violate the decision of the Constitutional Court. There is a ruling of the Constitutional Court, and we must abide by it. Can a Constitutional Court decision be broken in a normal country?” said Sharmazanov. To the clarifying question whether the decision in question prohibits the post-election publication of signed voter lists, the senior HHK member reaffirmed: “Yes, it does.”

Opposition groups believe that in the absence of post-election publication of the names of voters who go to the polls it is difficult to verify their longstanding claim that the authorities use the data of citizens absent from the country to rig the election.

Head of the HAK’s parliamentary faction Levon Zurabian told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service (Azatutyun.am) on Thursday that interpreting the 2003 Constitutional Court ruling the way Sharmazanov did it is absolutely untrue.

“In fact, the ruling that Sharmazanov invokes was issued in 2012 and that decision does not prohibit the publication of the lists,” he said.

Back in 2012, 29 MPs of the then opposition Armenian Revolutionary Federation and the Prosperous Armenia Party turned to the Constitutional Court demanding that it rule unconstitutional the provision of the Electoral Code that prohibits the post-election publication of lists of persons who participate in the elections. The Court, however, ruled that the provision was not contrary to the Constitution.

“But this does not imply in any way that publication of signed voter lists is prohibited. This is elementary logic, and I would advise that the authorities study the rules of classical logic before making such statements. In fact, there is no legal basis for what they say. Nothing in Armenia, including any decision of the Constitutional Court, prohibits the [post-election] publication of lists of voters,” Zurabian explained.

Heriknaz Tigranian, a legal expert of the Transparency International Anti-Corruption, said that the 2012 ruling by the Constitutional Court referred to the position of the Venice Commission, a Council of Europe body advising the governments of member states on legal reforms, according to which the lists of election participants are not subject to publication. But, at the same time, the Court in its decision does not recognize that to be unconstitutional, she added.

“It does not mean that the publication of the signed voter lists is prohibited by law or that would be unconstitutional,” the expert stressed.

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