PACE OBSERVER MISSION IN GENERAL AGREES WITH INTERIM REPORT PUBLISHED BY OSCE/ODIHR

Noyan Tapan
Feb 1, 2008

YEREVAN, FEBRUARY 1, NOYAN TAPAN. The 30 members of the PACE interim
commission on observation of the presidential elections will arrive
in Armenia on February 17. The observer mission's preliminary report
on elections will be published in Yerevan on February 20, while
the final report will be presented to the PACE for discussion two
months after the vote. The head of the interim observer commission,
PACE deputy John Prescott (UK) announced this at the January 31
press conference at the RA National Assembly. He added that if the
preliminary conclusion to be published in Yerevan is the same as
those of the other observer missions, including of the OSCE/ODIHR,
in this case it would be expedient not to repeat the same and present
a conclusion only once - at a joint press conference.

The 3-member delegation headed by John Prescott conducted preliminary
observation in Yerevan on January 29-31 with the aim of evaluating
the current political atmosphere in the country and the preparation
for the elections. The delegation had numerous meetings, including
meetings with the Armenian leadership, the chhairman of the RA
Central Electoral Commission, candidates for the RA presidency,
NGOs and journalistic organizations.

J. Prescott stated that they in general agree with the first interim
report on the upcoming presidential elections in the RA published
by OSCE/ODIHR the day before. He said that they take the view that
the holding of truly democratic elections and the legitimacy of their
results depend on the high level of public confidence in the electoral
process. So the delegation recommends that the Armenian authorities
should take all necessary messures to ensure public confidence in
electoral process.

By the way, among the delegation members was Lord Russel Johnston, the
head of the PACE interim commission on Nagorno Karabakh problem. In
response to reporters' question, he said that he is in Armenia as
observer, while after the presidential elections he will arrive
as the commission chairman in order to meet with the new Armenian
president. Prior to arriving in Armenia, he visited Azerbaijan and
met with the country's president.