Home Statements On the Position of Civil Society Representatives on Armenia’s Snap Parliamentary Election and Challenges to Be Addressed by the Newly-Elected Parliament in the Near Term
2018 Dec

On the Position of Civil Society Representatives on Armenia’s Snap Parliamentary Election and Challenges to Be Addressed by the Newly-Elected Parliament in the Near Term

We assess the 9 December 2018 National Assembly election of Armenia as a free and fair election in which the citizens of Armenia freely expressed their will.

This free, fair, and competitive election—the first in about 23 years—marked a historic turning point and have immense value from a number of perspectives. Free and fair elections are a key achievement in democratization and proof of a society's political maturity and appreciation of the significance of voting.

In this election, Armenia's citizens regained their self-confidence as dignified citizens whose voice and opinion have value and weight. Through the votes, society denounced the dictatorial and decaying system and elected to live in a new and democratic country. The free and fair election put an end to the corrupt system through which thousands of people were taking part in the reproduction of the incumbent and unlawful practices that enjoyed impunity. Elections and their result raised the bar of expectations for all of society.

We, as representatives of the public, having for years defended the fundamental values of democracy, justice, and human rights, expect systemic and in-depth reforms that will enable legislation and practice to put in place and make irreversible the principles and mechanisms of good governance, justice, and respect for human rights.

The role, significance, and modus operandi of the newly-elected National Assembly will need to change in this new situation. Importantly, the newly-elected National Assembly should become a broad-based platform for public debates on various issues.

We reiterate the need to:

  • Make a political assessment of the previous authoritarian-rule period and regime, which was governed by mechanisms of systemic corruption and continued to enjoy impunity whilst breaching fundamental human rights and human dignity. Such a political assessment should lay the groundwork for developing and implementing mechanisms that will make it impossible for any group to capture the state in the Republic of Armenia;
  • Enable the drafting of a new constitution in accordance with democratic principles and with wide public participation, and safeguard through the new Constitution effective parliamentary oversight of the main instruments of dictatorial rule—the police, the national security, the penitentiary system, and the investigative authorities;
  • Adopt a new electoral code to ensure an exclusively proportional electoral system, as well as a legislation on political parties to create equal opportunities for all political parties.
  • Develop a transitional justice strategy and put in place the legislative grounds necessary for its successful implementation;
  • Carry out prompt, large-scale, genuine, and visible result-oriented reforms in the criminal justice and law-enforcement fields;
  • Ensure the elimination of all forms of discrimination by enacting legislation supported by an effective implementation toolkit;
  • Guarantee strategies focusing on the achievement of equity, ensuring that all layers of society are represented therein;
  • Initiate activities that will, in addition to the creation of corruption prevention and enforcement bodies, lay the groundwork for fighting corruption in a systemic and universal manner on the level of all institutions;
  • Adopt an urgently-needed package of laws that will launch a process of eliminating monopolies and developing a true market economy, whilst clearly defining the boundaries of state intervention;
  • Define as priorities the equitable development of Armenia's regions and the strengthening of local self-government and develop legislation to ensure their achievement; and
  • Reform the education system through legislation enabling fundamental reforms with a view to overthrowing the political capture.

We, the below-signed, hereby express our willingness to invest our potential in overcoming these challenges and carrying out these activities.

Other stakeholders are invited to join the Statement.

Journalists’ Club Asparez
Helsinki Committee of Armenia
Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly Vanadzor Office
Open Society Foundations – Armenia
Transparency International Anti-Corruption Center
Union of Informed Citizens
Support to Women and Children NGO
Committee to Protect Freedom of Expression
Goris Press Club NGO
Public Information and Need of Knowledge NGO (PINK-Armenia)
APR Group
Peace Dialogue NGO
Angel Social educational cultural NGO
Social Support Projects NGO
Haytur social educational cultural NGO
Shirak’s Teachers Union scientific educational center NGO
Free Citizen CISC
Women’s Rights Center NGO
Socioscope NGO
“Sose Women's Issues” NGO
Public Journalism Club
Women in Black Armenia Peacebuilding Initiative
Meghri Women's Resource Center NGO
Ijevan Civic Youth Center NGO
Children’s Society: Support Center for Youth Initiatives NGO
Syuniq Civic Education Center NGO
Karen Tumanyan, Attorney