Parliament speaker Ararat Mirzoyan urged political forces on Wednesday to start negotiations on reforming Armenia’s electoral legislation and bodies.
“The electoral institutions need to be improved and I want to take this opportunity and invite political forces to start jointly developing electoral reforms,” Mirzoyan said. He stressed that the pro-government majority in the Armenian parliament is ready to accept “radical changes” that would require constitutional amendments.
Vahagn Hovakimian, another lawmaker from the ruling My Step alliance, said the offer applies to not only the parliamentary opposition but also parties that are not represented in the National Assembly. The majority leaders will soon clarify the format of the proposed multi-party talks, he said.
Gevorg Gorgisian, a senior deputy representing the opposition Bright Armenia Party (LHK), reacted cautiously to the proposal, saying that it is not clear enough.
But the other parliamentary opposition force, the Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK), welcomed the idea. A senior BHK figure, Naira Zohrabian, told RFE/RL’s Armenian service that her party will definitely participate in the proposed reform of the Electoral Code.She said it will specifically advocate a lower vote threshold to enter the parliament and the abolition of nationwide constituencies from which half of the members of the current parliament were elected.
The previous Armenian parliament came very close to enacting these and other amendments before being dissolved in November. Former President Serzh Sarkisian’s Republican Party was widely blamed for its failure to pass them.