Ministry of Justice registered parties that did not have 300 members during the founding congress
19:12 - 07 June,2021

Ministry of Justice registered parties that did not have 300 members during the founding congress

In December 2020, amendments were made to the RA Law on Parties. Among other things, there were changes in the process of state registration of new parties. If at the founding congress 100 founding members had to vote for the creation of the party before, now that number should be 300. This means that the party must have at least 300 founding members at the time of its creation.

The law entered into force on January 20, 2021, which means that all parties holding a founding congress after January 20 must have at least 300 founding members who voted in favor of party registration at the congress. The Law on Parties also defines that for the purpose of state registration, a party must submit to the state-authorized body the names, surnames, copies of passports, signatures of the founders who voted in favor of the decision to form a party (Article 9).

Infocom was present at most of the founding congresses held by the parties after April 22 to find out whether all the parties had 300 founding members; and if that number was not provided, did the Ministry of Justice register those parties or not?

Parties registered in 2021, which were not voted by 300 founding members

Infocom was present at the founding congress of the "United Homeland" ("Miasnakan Hayrenik") party. The number of founding members did not exceed 80. However, the party received state registration on May 25. The chairman of "United Homeland" is Mher Terteryan.

At the founding congress of the "Shant" alliance there were not 300 seats in the hall, not all the seats were occupied, therefore, 300 founding members could not be secured. The party received state registration on May 24, the chairman is Shahen Harutyunyan.

Infocom was not present at the founding congress of the state-registered "Nation-Army-Homeland" party, but the published videos show that 300 people are not present in the hall, meaning that 300 founding members did not vote for the formation of the party at the founding congress, as required by law. The chairman of the party is Ruben Gevorgyan.

The "Fair Armenia" ("Ardar Hayastan") party held a founding congress two months ago, but the Ministry of Justice returned the application. From the videos available on the Internet, we cannot say for sure whether there were 300 members at the founding congress or not.

After the return of the application, the new founding congress of "Fair Armenia" took place. During this congress, in which we were present, the maximum number of seats in the hall was 250, not all the seats were occupied at the beginning of the congress, that is, 300 founding members could not be secured, which is evident in the video distributed by the party. On May 21, the "Fair Armenia" party received state registration. The chairman of the party is Norayr Norikyan.

Parties voted by at least 300 founding members

The number of seats in the hall at the founding congress of the "Sovereign Armenia" party was more than 300, almost all the seats were occupied, there were standing founding members. Consequently, "Sovereign Armenia" was able to secure at least 300 founding members, which is evident in the video shared by the party. The party received state registration on May 20. The chairman is Davit Sanasaryan.

There were more than 300 founding members during the founding congress of the "Zartonq" National Christian Party, which can be seen in other videos as well. There were more than 300 seats in the hall, and there were also standing founding members. The party received state registration on May 19. The chairman of the party is Ara Zohrabyan.

Parties whose number of founding members was not registered by Infocom

By April 29, the Ministry of Justice returned the application for state registration of "The Voice" party. Infocom was present at the second founding congress of the party․ At that time, the founding members reaffirmed the decisions made at the founding congress by secret voting, but since not all the founding members voted at the same time and there are no videos from the first congress, we cannot say how many founding members the party has. "The Voice" received state registration on May 25.

Infocom was not present at the founding congresses of the state-registered "Rise"("Verelk"), "Stability" ("Kayunutyun"), "Nation-Army-Homeland", "Rule of Law", "Pan-Armenian National Statehood",  Pan-Armenian "National-Democratic Pole", "Liberal" parties.

There are no photos or videos from the founding congresses of the Pan-Armenian "National-Democratic Pole", "Liberal" and "Pan-Armenian National Statehood" parties on the Internet. From the photos of the founding congresses of the "Rise" and "Stability" parties and from the video of the founding congress of the "Rule of Law" party, it is impossible to understand whether the number of founding members has reached 300 or not.

Infocom tried to attend the founding congresses of these 4 parties, but they were either postponed or did not take place.

Parties registered in 2021, whose founding congress took place before the amendments to the law

The founding congresses of "Justice and Homeland", "Christian-Democratic", "Alliance for Defenders of Republic Democracy" and "My Armenia" parties, which were registered this year, took place either in 2020 or until January 20, 2021, that is before the amendments to the Law on Parties entered into force.

Summing up, let us mention that 12 parties that held a founding congress after the amendments to the Law on Parties were registered, have received state registration. Infocom was present at the founding congresses of 5 of these parties, noting that only in 2 cases was the number of founding members at least 300, and "Fair Armenia", "United Homeland" and "Shant" alliance did not provide that number. In the case of the "Nation-Army-Homeland" party, it is also seen from the shared video that the number of founding members has not reached 300.

That is, after the amendments to the Law on Parties, the Ministry of Justice gave state registration to at least 4 parties, which held their founding congresses in violation of the law, without providing 300 founding members. Of those four parties, "Fair Armenia" and "United Homeland" will participate in the upcoming parliamentary elections, and "Shant" alliance and "Nation-Army-Homeland" are not on the list of parties participating in the elections. Among the newly created parties, the pan-Armenian "National-Democratic Pole", "Rise", "Liberal", "Sovereign Armenia", "Zartonq" Christian, and "Pan-Armenian National Statehood" parties will also take part in the elections.

We also sent a request to the Ministry of Justice to find out whether it has information on the number of founding members of the parties that held a founding congress after the amendments to the law, and what mechanisms it uses to check whether 300 founding members voted for the parties.

The Ministry told us that according to Article 9, Part 4, Clause 6 of the RA Law on Parties, for the purpose of state registration, the party submits to the State Register Agency of Legal Entities the names and surnames of the founders who voted for the decision to form a party, copies of passports, signatures.

”According to Article 5 of the Law on State Registration of Legal Entities, Separate Subdivisions of Legal Entities, Institutions, and Individual Entrepreneurs:

 

  1. The information submitted by the person applying for state registration shall be considered credible by the Agency, except for the cases provided for in part 3 of this Article.
  2. The Agency, except for the cases provided by this Law, does not check the accuracy of the information submitted to the Agency, is not responsible for any possible damage caused by it. The limitation of liability provided for in this part does not apply to cases where the agency employee knew or was obviously obliged to know that the documents were forged.
  3. The information provided by the persons to the agency may be considered unreliable if there is evidence to that effect or information provided by other people.
  4. The applicant holds responsibility for the provision of incorrect information in the manner prescribed by the legislation of the Republic of Armenia, as well as for the damage caused by the consequent incorrect information provided by him/her, ” the response of the Ministry of Justice states.

From the answer of the Ministry of Justice, we can assume that the ministry is based on the data provided by the founding members of the parties, and does not have any mechanisms by which it will be possible to check whether at least 300 founding members voted in favor of the decision to form a party at the founding congress or not.

Narek Martirosyan, Anna Sahakyan



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