YEREVAN, January 9. /ARKA/. The watchdog group during Armenia’s presidential elections is expected to be the same as that at the parliamentary elections, the chief of the Central Electoral Commission (CEC) Tigran Mukuchyan told reporters on Tuesday, Novosti-Armenia informs.
Nearly 30,000 observers were monitoring May 6 parliamentary elections. Of them, nearly 500 were representatives of different European structures, and 173—from the CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States). CEC also registered 16,000 local observers from 31 civil organizations.
“All those international organizations which were monitoring the National Assembly elections will also have the same mission during the presidential elections,” he said.
OSCE / ODIHR observers will arrive in Armenia soon, he added.
“We will unveil the detailed information about the expected number of observers in the near future,” he noted.
As of now, one international and one local public organizations have applied for observation mission, according to Mukuchayn.
The presidential elections will be held on February 18 at 1988 polling stations in 41 electoral districts.
Fifteen citizens submitted their documents to the Central Electoral Commission of Armenia to register as presidential candidates.
The day of the application deadline was last Friday, 6 p.m. local time (the same as Moscow time). The registration process opened January 4 and will end on January 14. The election campaign is to be kicked off on January 21 and end on February 16, 24:00 (12 a.m.). The presidential elections will be held on February 18.
The incumbent president, Serzh Sargsyan, is the main favorite in the upcoming presidential race. The ruling Republican Party of Armenia officially nominated Sargsyan on December 15. The motto of the incumbent’s election campaign is “Towards secure Armenia.”
Sargsyan’s opponents will be the former prime minister of Armenia and Freedom party leader Hrant Bagratyan, the former foreign minister and Heritage party leader Raffi Hovhannisian, the famous dissident in the Soviet times, Union for National self-determination party leader Paruyr Hayrikyan.
Narine Mkrtchyan, the chief of the National press club, the professor at Armenian State Pedagogical University after Khachatur Abovyan, is the first woman candidate to join the race.
The documents were also submitted by the president of Armenian Combat Karate Kobudo National Federation Taron Abrahamyan, the leader of National Consent party Aram Harutyunyan, former foreign minister of Karabakh Arman Meliqyan, political scientist Andrias Ghukasyan, specialist in epos Vardan Sedrakyan, Kashatagh NGO chairman Robert Simonyan, pensioner Pavlik Sargsyan, unemployed Robert Aharonyan and Mher Hayrapetyan.
Another potential candidate, Ruben Ayvazyan, is a member of Prosperous Armenia party who is registered at Central Electoral Commission’s website as a lawyer at the European Court of Human Rights.
As of now the election pledge was paid by Serzh Sargsyan, Hrant Bagratyan, Raffi Hovhannisian, Andrias Ghukasyan, Arman Meliqyan, Paruyr Hairikyan, Vardan Sedrakyan. -0-