Monday, July 04, 2005

Persisting Apathy over Constitutional Ammendments

RFE/RL reports that a new opinion poll shows that most residents of Yerevan, the Armenian capital, are unaware of the proposed ammendments to the constitution which will be put to the population in a referendum scheduled for not later than November.
Vox Populi, a private polling organization, said that only 13 percent of 624 city residents randomly interviewed last week would definitely take part in the referendum. Another 16 percent said they would likely do so, according to the survey made public at the weekend.

The reported figures are essentially identical with the findings of two other polls which Vox Populi conducted in Yerevan, home to at least one third of the country’s population, in April and October. They should be cause for serious concern for the Armenian authorities that are facing growing pressure from the Council of Europe to amend the much criticized post-Soviet constitution.
In related news, the head of the Yerevan mission of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) is quoted by the Aravot newspaper in RFE/RL's Press Review that Armenia will "face no international sanctions if constitutional amendments drafted by its government are rejected at the planned referendum."
“If all goes well and the changes are rejected, they will have to accept the outcome,” he says.
Yeah, no kidding. Thanks, Ambassador Pryakhin. That seems to be the point and the lack of discussion in society with no attempt at encouraging public participation and debate seems to suggest that things aren't being conducted well at all.

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