EU Envoy to Armenia calls for change in CEC composition to increase trustworthiness
“You should make the Central Election Commission (CEC) more reliable,” Piotr Świtalski, the Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia, stated on Thursday.
“The CEC should include representatives of the civil society etc. My advice to the Armenians is as follows: think about it, study the CEC composition, and consider how you can make it a more reliable establishment that enjoys public trust,” the EU diplomat stressed.
Armenian authorities reacted immediately to the EU official’s statement. As the Armenian Justice Minister, David Harutyunyan told journalists, any adjustment or maintenance of the current composition of the CEC was a domestic affair that should be decided by the country’s National Assembly.
“I think it’s definitely an attempt to interfere in the country’s domestic political affairs. I believe it’s unacceptable, no matter whether it’s well-intended or not,” said David Harutyunyan.
Piotr Świtalski also touched upon the recent parliamentary elections in Armenia, pointing out that they were far from ideal, and that the country hadn’t reached perfection in democratic standards. “It’s an ongoing process. We can say that we are almost half way along this road,” said the EU Ambassador. He added that the path that Armenia had already gone down was positive as compared to other countries.
The Ambassador expressed hope that there would be some serious changes in the country by the next election, in 2-3 years. He also shared his opinion with regard to a new Electoral Code, formed as a result of a consensus between the opposition and the leadership.
“The pro-governmental powers are trying to tailor the Electoral Code to their political goals – it’s quite a natural instinct even in most democratic countries. Elements are used that would inure to benefit the ruling party,” said the Ambassador.
In this regard, the Armenian Justice Minister pointed out that the EU Envoy should refrain from expressing his personal position. “I believe it’s also a political issue and it’s the competence of experts, rather than the ambassadors, to express their vision in this regard. And also, the supreme body in this sphere, the Venice Commission, has already issue its conclusion on this issue.”