Statement of the Europe-Armenia Advisory Council on Armenia’s Parliamentary Elections on 6 May 2012
A Choice for Armenia
The Europe-Armenia Advisory Council (EAAC), together with the entire European Union and much of the international community, look forward to the upcoming parliamentary elections on 6 May 2012. It will be the responsibility mainly of the Armenian government, but also of the opposition, media and civil society actors, to ensure that these elections will mark a step into a promising future for the country and its people.
These elections are more than merely a day of choosing new parliamentary representatives. They are a matter of national importance. Elections marked by disorganisation and undemocratic conduct would weaken the entire country. Elections marked by a good organisational conduct and by their free and fair character will strengthen the entire country and allow for growth and improvement.
Europe stands by Armenia's side and welcomes the remarkable progresses made during the last years. Armenia has largely overcome the March 2008 crisis. Following European recommendations, an amnesty was implemented, a dialogue with the extra-parliamentary opposition started, the electoral code has been improved, freedom of assembly has been improved (including access to Opera Square), a regular human rights dialogue was started with the EU and a number of laws and procedures for the conduct of police and judiciary have been improved. Besides, Armenia's negotiations for the new Association Agreement with the EU are progressing very fast. An agreement for Visa Facilitation with the EU is now in preparation and more fundamentally, the negotiations for a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area have started. This offers Armenia a new perspective and the return to its place in the European family. Politically, more and more parties have aligned themselves with their European counterparts. Like most observers, the EAAC would not have expected all these positive steps to be actually implemented, and while homework remains to be done, we welcome that so much has been achieved.
Armenia still faces strong challenges and therefore needs strong and skilled new parliamentarians. Despite threatening inflammatory statements from neighbouring Azerbaijan, the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict can and must be resolved peacefully. Starting the rapprochement process with Turkey was a brave and positive step, and while the ball remains in Turkey's court, we believe this process should be revived. Economically, Armenia has been hit by the international crisis, but now looks to regain its strength. Emigration, corruption and inflation have been clear shortcomings of the past. Facing these challenges requires politicians with skills and a clear programmatic vision for Armenia.
Your vote can make a difference for Armenia's future. We call upon all voters to become active, to seek information about the parties' programmes and the skills of their politicians, and above all, to cast their vote. Those who do not vote should not complain about politics later. Those who vote shape Armenia's future and help to prevent fraud attempts. Some Armenians have been offered food, new roads, a renovated kindergarten or blunt money for their vote. Give your vote only in return for good politics! These elections are not only about your family or community, ALL families and communities need food, roads, kindergartens, jobs, security and a perspective. Only good politics can bring this and for this, Armenia needs your vote.
On 6 May, the Armenian people will have a choice! We, the EAAC and Europe in general, will look at Armenia and seek to celebrate this day of democracy with you.
Members of the Europe-Armenia Advisory Council:
Dr Kornel ALMASSY (Hungary) former MP
Mr Elmar BROK (Germany) MEP
Prof Massimo CACCIARI (Italy) Professor of Philosophy, University Vita-Salute San Raffaele in Milan
Prof Bernard COULIE (Belgium) Honorary rector, Université Catholique de Louvain
Mr Agustín DÍAZ DE MERA (Spain) MEP
Dr Alexandra DOBOLYI (Hungary) former MEP
Mr Frank ENGEL (Luxemburg) MEP
Dr Tessa HOFMANN (Germany) Institute for Eastern European Studies, Freie Universität Berlin
Ms Marie Anne ISLER BÉGUIN (France) Former MEP
Dr Ioannis KASOULIDES (Cyprus) MEP
Dr Andrey KOVATCHEV (Bulgaria) MEP
Mr Paweł KOWAL (Poland) MEP
Mr Riccardo MIGLIORI (Italy) MP
Prof Dr Joëlle Le MORZELLEC (France) Rector, Université française en Arménie
Mr Stephen POUND (United Kingdom) MP
Ms Michèle RIVASI (France) MEP
Mr François ROCHEBLOINE (France) MP
Mr François ROELANTS DU VIVIER (Belgium) Honorary Senator
Mr René ROUQUET (France) MP
Dr Charles TANNOCK (United Kingdom) MEP
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