Is it possible to hold fair elections?

In the article entitled “The Big Game” the New Option blog discusses the promises of government to hold fair elections:

“…the Election Fraud machine formed in Armenia in 1995, and during the past ten years it has become some kind of a state institution on its own right.
The Election fraud machine also has control over business, privatization process…: Each participant of this Big Game gains his share of access to levers of power within the state, in accordance to their contribution, or their market share of the ballot rigging…:
Will the people in power be able to break that Machine? So far they have only been able to manage, control, use it – but it takes much more then that to break it. It takes extreeme measures and wide public participation…”

"Come and get your share of oil and rice"

That’s the message spread out by Bekaisa, ArmYouth Blog, Anoush Armenia and possibly others. while the guest blogger on the CRD/TI Election Monitor 2007 Tamar Palandjian,Youth Program Coordinator of the Civil Society Instituteon has some further details and explanations:

“…a group of active young citizens are calling upon society to “wake up” from yet another long, cold and passive winter in Yerevan…”
…to celebrate Barekendan this year, people will be gathering at the Komitas statue (in front of the Conservatory) wearing costumes, playing jokes and games and music as well.

Sunday, February 18 at 13:00
Near the Komitas statue in front of the Music Conservatory
“Come and reclaim your oil and rice”

Please join us and spread the word about this event! …”

Kornelij's Election Leaflet #1

Kornelij Glas has started his personal Election Leaflet – albeit a “personal and incomplete” one as he claims. Here’s a translation of what seems to be a nicely sorted account of all the main political developments in the country:

1. Opposition will most likely join forces – the matter will be finalized in the nearest times.
2. It is already clear, that the “Rule of Law” won’t join into coalition with the opposition parties. Artur Baghdasaryan says opposition should not unite into a single block as a matter of principle.
3. “Ramkavar-Liberal-Democrat” and Samvel Babayan’s “Dashinq” will run in coalition. Importantly, Babayan seems to be challenging Serge himself, by possibly running in the same cunstituency as Serge’s brother.
4. RA Minister of Justice David Harutyunyan finally made up his mind to run in the elecitons as par tof the Republican Party of Armenia. Strangely, right after the decision was made the SUV of his former Press-Secretary was subjected to an arson attack.
5.Aram Sarkisyan, the boss of “Republic”, went to Washington – for meetings.
6.A new trend is coming out – generals going to parliament. The Deputy-Minister of Defense, Artur Aghabekyan and the Commander of the Forth Corps of the Armenian Army, General Seiran Saroyan are both on their way to Parliament.
7. This time the elections will be very well represented and covered online. TI has opened a blog: Parliamentary Election Monitor, soon the Human Rights in Armenia and Internews will come up with similar initiatives on their own.

Join the lively discussion at Kornelij’s blog.

Election Blogging Guide

CRD / TI Election Monitor 2007 blog introduces a number of useful guides and handbooks for bloggers, including the Demologue’s Election Blogging Guide (which it promises will be soon translated also into Armenian), Reporters Without Borders’ Handbook for Bloggers and Cyber-dissidents available in English and Russian, as well as the New Eurasia featuring a  a number of guides such as An Easy Guide to Blogging which is available in English, Russian.

20% increase in traffic accidents due to corruption

Martuni or Bust criticizes the Armenpress article “TRAFFIC ACCIDENTS KILLS 332 PEOPLE LAST YEAR” issued on Feb 08 2007, saying it doesn’t disclose the fact fully and neglects serious issues, for example, the fact that “You can just pay the [driving]school fees, pay off the doctors that “examined” you and give a gift (bribe) to the head of the [driving license] licensing department.

Journalism matters – not just to journalists but to everyone

What Democracy Means urges the public to protect the journalists in Armenia, asking the rhetoric question – “who will ask the questions when they’re gone?”, after laying out “…a troubling list of some of the recent events:

  1. …The three-and-a-half year jail sentence handed to the editor of “Zhamanak Yerevan” – Arman Babajanian…RFE/RL.
  2. …The Toyota Prado belonging to Suren Baghdasarian of the “Football Plus” weekly and parked in a garage outside his central Yerevan apartment was completely destroyed by fire…RFE/RL.
  3. …Arson attack on an expensive SUV belonging to Ara Saghatelian, the owner and editor of the “Im Iravunke” weekly…“…” RFE/RL

Parliamentary Election Monitor

CRD / TI Election Monitor 2007 blog had another post of the 2007 Parliamanetary Election Monitor roundups which were traditionally done on the Oneworld Multimedia blog. The monitor lookes at important media reports and posts in the Armenian blogosphere, related to the 2007 Parliamentary elecitons. This time round the Monitor looks at the Internet media and what it has to offer to the voters as a means of information about the upcoming elections.

If the 2003 Presidential and Parliamentary Elections were defined by the role of the broadcast media, it looks as though the Internet will play a crucial role in covering and disseminating news, views and opinions on this year’s Parliamentary Election.

The Monitor then looks at the new features introduced by: A1plus, ArmeniaNow, articles by the RFE/RL as well as the efforts of the Blogosphere: Anoush Rima, Armenian Blog Review, Blogrel.
Visit the CRD / TI Election Monitor 2007 for more.

Roadmap to Fair Elections

Usogh has discovered a fair method of raising the quality of voting during the upcoming elecitons. The method is simple – those coming to the polling station are offered a choice – either take money, or go on voting of their own. Simple as that!

Voices from Civil Society

CRD / TI Election Monitor 2007  introduces an important new feature to their blog:

One feature that will take a prominent place on this blog will be providing guest bloggers from civil society and international organizations the opportunity to express their opinion on the parliamentary election. They may also use this opportunity to raise awareness of their organization’s activities in the election period.

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