September 24, 2012 - 18:36 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - The mission of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe, which monitored elections into local self-governance bodies, issued a statement calling for a strong commitment of political parties to local democracy in Armenia.
"Our satisfaction with the fact that these elections take place according to international standards is mitigated by the lack of engagement of political parties with local governance," said Henry Feral (France, EPP), head of the delegation for the observation of local government elections in Armenia.
Following the observation of part of local elections conducted on September 9 and 23, 2012 the Congress noted with satisfaction that the voting took place in a serious and calm atmosphere and the level of participation was satisfactory. No observer detected any obvious fraud though the issue of possible vote buying was raised by many stakeholders.
However, the delegation noted the lack of commitment of political parties with regret. While recognizing that this is due to various reasons, such as lack of financial resources, staff and candidates, it believes that political parties do not pay enough attention to democracy and governance at the local level.
Moreover, while acknowledging the existence of initiative from citizens who have participated in the electoral process, the Congress calls for greater involvement of all of civil society.