Armenia - court allows lawsuit filed by 30 school principals to proceed
Daniel Ioannisyan, a program coordinator of the Union of Informed Citizens, which monitored the 2 April parliamentary election, released the records of phone conversations with the school and kindergarten principals. According to the aforesaid materials, the principals provided the Republican Party of Armenia (RPA) with the lists of voters who were ready to support them in the election.
The UIC staff phoned the general educational institution principals during working hours and, having introduced themselves as the Republican Party staff members, made inquiries about the volume of work done for this or that candidate. The school principals named 12 candidates whom they had been promoting. 114 School and kindergarten principals were engaged in drawing up the lists with personal data of school teachers and students’ parents for the ruling party.
Ioannisyan claims that the aforesaid proves that the authorities were using administrative resources for securing their victory in the election in violation of the law. He believes that, despite the Central Election Commission’s failure to disqualify the RPA from the parliamentary race, the scandal around publication of the phone conversations will have serious political consequences and no one could say that the government is legitimate.
The principals filed lawsuits against both Daniel Ioannisyan and the Union of Informed Citizens. The school principals accuse Ioannisyan and his organization of libel, demanding him to release an official rebuttal and pay AMD 2 million (USD 4,123) compensation per principal. The court has allowed the lawsuit to proceed.
The RPA, in turn, noted that the phone conversation records give no grounds to claim that the country’s Electoral Code has been violated. According to the party, the principals were engaged in campaigning outside of their working hours. The RPA blamed the Union of Informed Citizens of political bias: ‘The organization that assumed a monitoring mission for conducting fair elections has resorted to a politically-oriented course of action.”