Freedom of Information Center of Armenia.

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Mayoral Candidates Without Declarations


From now on, voters can no longer find out any details about their candidates' property and income, because as of January 1 of this year, candidates running in elections no longer submit property and income declarations to the Central Electoral Commission (CEC).

Even though the Election Code contains provisions for declarations being made public, the RA Law on Declaration of Property and Income by Senior State Officials was annulled as of January 1, 2009, while the new Law on Declaration of Property and Income by Physical Persons no longer requires candidates to submit declarations to the CEC. As a result, the principle of declarations being public has been violated completely.

In the past, anyone could ask and receive copies of senior officials' declarations for the past years. Now, only declarations for the previous reporting year are available. Another restriction is that copies of declarations can be provided only between August 1 and December 1 of the current year. In other words, declarations are publicly accessibly for only four months of the year.

In addition, declarations are only provided to mass media outlets with a permanent name, serial number and date, published on a regular basis on a material carrier and disseminated in the Republic of Armenia and with a circulation of at least 3,000 (i.e. at least 3,000 copies with the same content).

We have tried to find out the reasons for such restrictions on the publication of declarations from the CEC and the RA Government's State Revenues Committee, and we received a reply that this is what the law requires.

At the same time, government is talking about introducing the institute of declaration of interests. Just days ago, on May 14, Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan said at a government session: “We are introducing the institute of declaration of interests in the RA. This implies that the law (Editor's Note: the Law on Declaration of Property and Income by Physical Persons. End note) establishes real mechanisms for officials (members of parliament, ministers) to not engage in business activities, disclose their interests and resolve their issues with their dependents, so that the public can control the full enforcement of this constitutional norm in the RA.” However, at the same time, the already existing mechanism for the disclosure of interests – the requirement for candidates to submit property and income declarations to the CEC – is being removed without any justification or explanation.

As a result, we go to elections without any information on the candidates' property or income.

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