ARF Vows to Monitor Sunday’s Election

YEREVAN (Combined Sources)—The Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) announced this week that it had the mechanisms in place to monitor voting and to counter any election fraud during this Sunday’s municipal elections in Yerevan.

“This time, we will go it alone and utilize our own representatives in each precinct to monitor the voting,” said Armen Rustamian, an ARF leader managing the party’s election campaign. He explained that the party will have two to three representatives in each of the 439 polling places.

If each political party were to monitor its own vote, he said, the election process would be enhanced, especially since elections in Armenia seem to create more problems than solutions. “We must one day step off this path.”

Rustamian, who serves as the chairman of the ARF’s Supreme Body in Armenia, also expressed concern that there has not been enough discourse regarding the importance of the municipal elections—especially as this is the first time such elections are taking place.

Last year, the parliament ratified an amendment to Armenia’s election code whereby Yerevan City Council members would be elected rather than appointed by the president. The new code also stipulated that only political parties could take part in the vote, making these these elections a critical political turning point, according to Rustamian.

Artsvik Minasian, who leads the ARF roster of candidates and is therefore the party’s pick for the mayoral race, said his party intends to bring professionalism to the Yerevan City Council. The mayor, he said, should not be a member of the ruling party, so that a much-needed political balance is created and maintained.

“I have invited the candidates to a public debate. Let everyone come and present views for developing Yerevan,” challenged Minasian. “This debate will provide our voters with an opportunity to assess and understand who is better suited to do that. If a person is ready to assume the office of the Mayor of Yerevan, he should be ready to debate with others.”

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