Saripegyan makes a point to members of political
A program aimed at supporting more transparent
elections was launched last week in Yerevan in
preparation for next month's Parliamentary elections.
Sponsored by the Open Society Institute, the
program is an application of projects successfully
carried out in other post-Soviet countries.
Called the Center for Regional Development Transparency
International Armenia (CRDTIA), the program focuses
on disclosing of candidate expenditures.
Leader of CRDTIA, Arevik Saribekyan, says a successful
execution would "keep society informed and
contribute to provision of healthy and equal competitive
The program invites political parties to present
information on their financial resources and expenses.
Participation is voluntary.
A CRDTIA expert on political parties, Varuzhan
Hoktanyan says, "if they don't cooperate
then it means there is no transparency at all.
However, in spite of everything the independent
monitoring will be taking place."
Monitoring will be carried out by the Yerevan
Press Club, which will gather information on how
much parties spend for political advertisement
on television, in newspapers and on campaign posters.
In case parties agree to cooperate with CRDTIA,
the information they provide will be compared
to that gathered by the independent monitors.
"The final results will be published after
elections so that it could have no influence on
the process of elections," says Saribekyan.
Organizers don't expect much voluntary cooperation
from the political parties.
"Imperfections of the law on elections and
the unstable legal and political culture don't
provide grounds for a successful program,"
says Aram Harutyunyan, leader of the National
Accord party. "However, I'm sure that the
emphasis which will be made by the program will
allow an increase in the level of transparency."
At the conclusion of the program (expected to
last three and a half months), CRDTIA will present
its information with appropriate suggestions for
legislative changes to address election transparency
"This program will help to increase the
level of trust of the society towards political
parties," Hoktanyan says. "It will help
to form the process of elections in Armenia."