The Armenian government will not meet the opposition demand to ensure post-election publication of signed voter lists because it does not wish to violate the principles stipulated by international documents, a senior official insisted on Friday.
Talking to RFE/RL’s Armenian Service (Azatutyun.am), Chief of Government Staff David Harutiunian, who has been involved in the drafting of a new Electoral Code, also invoked the position of the Constitutional Court on the matter as another argument against the incorporation of such a provision in the set of future electoral laws.
At the same time, Harutiunian said: “If the goal is to increase transparency of the electoral processes, then in this sense we are ready to search for mechanisms.”
Earlier, leader of the main opposition Armenian National Congress party’s parliamentary faction Levon Zurabian argued that the 2012 ruling of the Constitutional Court did not explicitly prohibit the publication of signed voter lists after elections, but simply considered that the provision banning it was not unconstitutional either.
Opposition groups in Armenia 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 elections. Signed voter lists have not been published in Armenia since 2003 as the authorities insist that such publication constitutes the violation of the constitutionally guaranteed principle of secret ballot or the right to data protection. Leading opposition parties contend, however, that participation in elections is a public act and cannot therefore be considered a secret.
Minister Harutiunian reminded that during the appeal of the constitutionality of the norm banning the post-election publication of voter lists in 2012 the Constitutional Court expressed its legal position. “It said that in documents adopted by international organizations and their bodies it is considered to be an element of secrecy,” he said.
“The Constitutional Court supports the position that publication of officially signed lists is a violation of people’s [right to] secret ballot.”
At the same time, Harutiunian said that while officially signed lists will not be published, observers and proxies, even if they do not wish to have a ballot recount, will have the right to “get acquainted” with the lists. “To get acquainted means freely writing out information, but not making a photocopy of it. Why? Because it is in that case that it becomes an official document,” the official explained.