YEREVAN, February 12. / ARKA /. Armenia’s Central Election Commission (CEC) invited today journalists, representatives of local and foreign election watching organizations as well as representatives of presidential candidates to see how CEC chairman, Tigran Mukuchyan, would test the ink stamps which election officials will put in voters’ passports to prevent multiple voting.
During the May 2012 parliamentary elections the opposition parties complained that the stamps disappeared from passports very fast, although they were supposed to disappear no sooner than 12 hours later.
Mukuchyan argued today that the problems in the May parliamentary elections were caused by incorrect use of ink, not by its quality. He said the CEC had nonetheless conveyed the problem to the ink-producing company.
"We bought the ink for this election from the same British company, because we do not know other companies producing this special ink. The company had taken into account all the circumstances, even asked for information about weather conditions in Armenia in February for the last 10 years,” he said.
Mukuchyan assured that no problems will arise with the ink during the February 18 election, because the members of all electoral commissions - 16 thousand people – had special courses, and besides the CEC published a special guide about how to use the ink stamps.
He said some 2,200 bottles of ink were imported; each polling station will be provided with one bottle. Polling stations with portable ballot boxes will have tow bottles.
As for the cost of ink, Mukuchyan said CEC will provide all information later in its financial report.
The February 18 election will be contested by eight candidates - the incumbent president Serzh Sargsyan, former prime minister Hrant Bagratian, ex-foreign minister Raffi Hovannisian, a Soviet time dissident Paruyr Hayrikyan, former foreign minister of Karabakh Arman Melikyan, a political analyst Andrias Ghukasyan and a businessman Vartan Sedrakian. -0-