The Central Election Commission (CEC) extended on Tuesday its deadline for the nomination of presidential candidates to give them more time to raise 8 million drams ($20,000) required for their inclusion on the ballot.
Under Armenian law, individuals seeking to run for president must make the cash deposit and submit documents to the CEC in order to be officially registered as election candidates. Those who will garner more than 5 percent of the vote will get their money back after the presidential election scheduled for February 18.
As many as 15 persons expressed last month a desire to run in the election. But only seven of them, including the incumbent President Serzh Sarkisian, filed registration documents before the January 8 nomination deadline. The others, virtually all of them little-known and not affiliated with any political party, cited their inability to pay the deposit.
Two of those prospective candidates, Pavlik Sargsian and Robert Simonian, angrily complained about the financial requirement at a CEC meeting held on Tuesday. They said it runs counter to Armenia’s constitution.
“Ninety-five percent of the population is socially vulnerable,” Sargsian, an unemployed pensioner, told the commission. “This is a violation of their constitutional right to get elected.”
The CEC rejected the protests before deciding to extend the deadline by two days.