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Council Of Europe Wants Armenian Election Reforms By 2011

Unrest followed Armenia's February 2008 presidential election.
YEREVAN -- The Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) has agreed to give Armenia until the end of this year to reform its electoral system, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reports.

The Armenian government presented a timeline of reforms to PACE in Paris on March 17 and pledged to reform their electoral system by the end of 2010.

David Harutyunian, the head of Armenia's parliamentary delegation to PACE, told RFE/RL from Paris that the pledged reforms should make the new system functional before the next parliamentary elections, due in 2012.

"The concept of how to file a lawsuit or protest in court the actions of police or law enforcement agencies has already been presented to the Council of Europe for evaluation," Harutyunian said. "We expect [within] one month to get the answer after which we can start legislative work."

The PACE meeting followed a demonstration on March 16 in which thousands of opposition supporters marched to the Council of Europe office in Yerevan.

The protesters wanted PACE to push for snap elections in Armenia and for other government measures that are being sought by the opposition Armenian National Congress.

Violent unrest followed Armenia's February 2008 presidential election, won by Serzh Sarkisian.