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Local self-government elections in RA: it is proposed to switch to proportional system

On February 17th, the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Infrastructure published a package of draft amendments to the Electoral Code and a number of other laws on e-draft.am. We are talking about the amendments to the Laws on Parties, on Local Self-Governments and on Local Self-Government in Yerevan.

 

The package proposes a transition to proportional electoral system for community councils with more than 4,000 voters and up to 4,000 voters. The authors of the bills argue that doing so at the legislative level will create competitive conditions for the community’s representative body, ensure broad political engagement and power relations.

 

The drafts set out the mechanisms for the indirect election of a community leader, namely the mechanisms for electing community leaders by the community council. In doing so, the community council will elect and appoint a community leader, and the community leader will, in turn, be responsible to the community council. For community leaders with more than 4,000 constituencies, there will be the resignation of the community leader, the institute of expressing no confidence in the community council.

 

It is unclear how many communities the legislation will apply to. This part of the design states: Statistics on the number of communities in Armenia show that a significant proportion of communities have more than 4,000 voters, which rightly proves that it would be plausible to determine the proportional electoral system transition in the precisely the same category of communities.

 

The amendment also proposes to increase the number of council members, for example if it is proposed to increase the number of council members in communities with  4-10,000 voters  to 15 instead of 9 and 11, in communities with  10-25,000 voters  to  21 members  instead of the current 15, the number of councilors in communities with more than 25,000 voters to 33, instead of the current 15. It should be noted that only Gyumri and Vanadzor council members are currently 33.

 

 

The bill assumes that each party (party alliance) has the right to nominate only one voter list. In the case of the Yerevan Council of Elderly elections, at least 25 candidates are included in the electoral list of the participating party (party alliance), and in the case of the other Council of Elders elections, at least 15 candidates. The number of candidates included in the electoral list of the acting party (party alliance) may not exceed the number of mandates of community councilors provided by this Code.

 

By the way, to be included in the list is not a necessary condition of being a party member. The bill stipulates that persons who are not members of that party may also be included in the electoral roll, the number of which may not exceed 30% of the total number of candidates included in that electoral list.

 

 

With this proposed change, it can be expected that the representation of women in local government bodies will increase. As of January 1st of this year, according to official information provided to WomenNet.am, only 9 out of 502 communities in Armenia are women leaders. Only 392 of the 3668 community councilors are women.

 

 

If this bill is adopted by the National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia, in our estimation, the number of women in local self-government bodies will not only decrease, but will increase,” the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Infrastructure said in response to WomenNet.am’s inquiry.

 

 

Attached to the application of the party (party alliance) for the elections of the community council of elders is also attached the electoral list, which lists the surname, name, patronymic, date of birth, sex, party affiliation, ID number, place of registration, place of employment and place of registration. occupation).

 

 

Citizens can submit their opinions, observations, concerns and disagreements on the provisions contained in the package until March 3d. The only observation at this point concerns the possibility of civil society participation. The project was voted by 50 people, with 48 percent voting against and 51 percent voting against.

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