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Monitors compliment Armenian people on peaceful change of power

The co-rapporteurs of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) for the monitoring of Armenia, Giuseppe Galati (Italy, EPP/CD) and Yuliya Lovochkina (Ukraine, SOC), have congratulated all political forces, and above all the Armenian people, on the restraint and political maturity displayed during the recent protest and subsequent change of power in Armenia, which took place peacefully and in line with constitutional provisions and principles.

“The manner in which the change of power took place, and the subsequent appointment by Prime Minister Pashinyan of an inclusive and broad-based cabinet, highlights the maturity of the political system as well as the commitment of all political forces to the consolidation of democracy in the country. All political forces should be rightfully lauded for this,” said the co-rapporteurs.

The co-rapporteurs noted the extremely high expectations of profound and rapid reforms in the country placed by the Armenian people in the new authorities. In that context, the rapporteurs highlighted that the appointment of a politically inclusive cabinet, and the new Prime Minister's clear intention to create a stable and democratic environment, had created the necessary conditions for on-going democratic reforms and the national security of the country.

“In addition, the signals given by the new Prime Minister and his political allies that the justice system will be fully independent and will operate free from instructions and political interference should lay to rest any fears of political retribution, which we heard calls for during our visit,” said the co-rapporteurs, while stressing that there can be no impunity for criminal actions by politicians, irrespective of their political colour. At the same time they reiterated their concern about “hate speech” against the previous authorities on social media, which they called on all political actors to condemn.

During their visit from 23 to 25 May 2018, the co-rapporteurs were informed by the authorities of their wish, and the need, to organise pre-term elections as soon as the conditions would be right for their democratic conduct. In addition, they understood that the authorities, to create these conditions, wished to amend the election code, based on a broad consensus between all political forces. While expressing their full understanding of the call for early elections, the rapporteurs highlighted the standards of the Venice Commission with regard to stable election legislation before elections, as well as the need to allow sufficient time for all political stakeholders to prepare themselves properly for these pre-term elections.

The co-rapporteurs welcomed the clearly expressed wish by the new authorities to continue furthering and deepening the human rights legislation in the country. In this context the rapporteurs expressed their hope that the adoption of the anti-discrimination law in final reading, as well as the ratification of the Istanbul and Lanzarote conventions, would soon be placed on the agenda of the National Assembly.

The co-rapporteurs stressed the readiness of the Council of Europe and the Parliamentary Assembly to assist Armenia on its path of democratic consolidation.