In May 2012 Armenians go to the polls, four years after disputed presidential elections resulted in post-electoral violence which left 10 people dead, led to the jailing of political prisoners and polarised Armenian society. This spring’s parliamentary elections come as a litmus test for democracy in the country, and will indicate how well this ENP partner is doing in implementing its reform commitments five years after signing its Action Plan with the EU.
President Sargsyan, whose mandate will end in 2013, has pledged to do his utmost to get rid of “flawed stereotypes” that elections in Armenia serve only as a means of retaining power. But beyond the rhetoric do recent reforms to the electoral code go far enough to ensure that the coming elections will be free and fair? What concrete steps has Armenia taken to honour its Action Plan commitments to safeguarding human rights, fighting against pervasive corruption, ensuring judicial independence and fostering an independent civil society, all vital to a clean electoral environment? Finally, with 2013 a presidential election year in all three South Caucasus countries and following Russia’s winter of post-electoral protests, what are the prospects of an Armenian vote heralding an Eastern spring?
At this roundtable, a group of experts from Yerevan and Brussels will identify the challenges facing Armenia’s poll, addressing issues such as party funding, electoral governance, and voter registration. On the basis of an alternative ENP progress report for Armenia in 2011 experts will also evaluate Armenia’s ENP scorecard and analyse the role the EU can play in pushing for further reforms up to and beyond the elections.
- Varuzhan Hoktanyan, Executive Director, Transparency International Anti-corruption Center
- Davit Khachaturyan, Board Member, Open Society Foundations-Armenia
- Hrant Kostanyan, Research Fellow, Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) and PhD candidate in Political Science, EU Studies Centre, Ghent University
The discussion will be moderated by Jacqueline Hale, Senior Policy Analyst, Open Society Institute-Brussels.
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