The proposed amendments pursue legitimate aims and seem mostly positive, President of the Venice Commission Gianni Buquicchio said following talks with the First Deputy Prime Minister of Armenia at the 116th session of the Venice Commission.
The President said he acknowledges and supports the peaceful manner in which the Armenian people is carrying out change and understands the specific situation in Armenia, which requires the holding of early elections.
He welcomed the commitment of the Armenian authorities to abide by international standards when revising the Electoral Code and noted that the proposed amendments pursue legitimate aims and seem mostly positive.
Mr. Buquicchio also welcomed all steps taken to facilitate the exercise of the right to vote, to extend access to media, the rights of observers and more generally the transparency of the electoral process, as well as to struggle against electoral fraud;
he praised the implementation of recommendations of the Venice Commission and ODIHR, concerning in particular:
– The reduction of the electoral thresholds and thresholds applied for returning electoral deposits; the reduction of the amount of deposits;
– The reduction of deadlines for the accreditation of observers and media representatives, as well as the suppression of obstacles to the work of observers, such as the possibility to limit their number;
– Guarantees to ensure free vote by the military.
While Gianni Buquicchio recalled the reservations of the Venice Commission with respect to major changes in the electoral system, such as the abolition of district lists, within the year preceding the elections , he noted that “that these reservations are less relevant if there is consensus among political forces about the change.”