An Armenian opposition leader has challenged President Serzh Sarkisian to prove his commitment to hold democratic elections by enacting radical changes to the law and not allowing government resources to be used by his ruling Republican Party (HHK), RFE/RL’s Armenian Service reports.
Sarkisian has pledged to “spare no effort” to ensure that parliamentary elections in May are widely recognized as free and fair. Visiting Brussels earlier this month, Armenian Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian (no relation) said the vote will be the most democratic in the country’s history.
In a letter to the president released by his Heritage (Zharangutyun) party on November 21, Raffi Hovannisian listed 15 measures that he said would demonstrate the seriousness of the government’s pledges. In particular, he said, election commissions must be required to ink voters’ fingers and publicize lists of citizens who have cast their ballots.
Such safeguards are also strongly advocated by Armenia’s other major opposition forces. Opposition leaders say this would preclude multiple voting as well as fraudulent voting on behalf of hundreds of thousands of Armenians who are absent from the country but remain on national vote registers.