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Venice Commission Publishes Recommendations to Armenia’s Law on Parties

The Venice Commission, together with the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), published an opinion on draft amendments pertaining to political party regulation in Armenia, reports. 

OSCE/ODIHR and the Venice Commission welcome many of the proposals in the draft amendments which, if implemented adequately, can help to further political pluralism in line with international standards on political party regulation. 

At the same time, the draft amendments would benefit from certain revisions and improvements to ensure political party registration is not too burdensome, internal party processes are not overregulated and loopholes in political party funding are closed. 

In order to further improve the compliance of the draft amendments with international human rights standards and OSCE commitments, OSCE/ODIHR and Venice Commission make the following main recommendations:

- To remove other overly burdensome requirements for founding and registering a political party and refrain from too detailed regulation of a political party’s governing bodies and decision-making processes [paras 14ff];

- To ensure that all in-kind donations, including volunteer work for services which normally carry a reasonable expectation of payment, are counted as donations; [para 30] 

- To abolish the requirement of the workplace of a donor to be disclosed or published when making a donation [para 29];

- To separate promoting the political participation of certain groups from awareness raising about the goals and ideology of political parties [para 38];

- To develop a clear mechanism of oversight by the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption with a clear delineation of mandates and a detailed procedure and to ensure that sufficient staff and budget is allocated to the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption within its mandate of oversight of political party finance [paras 41ff];

- To amend the Law so that the term “gross nature of the violation of the law” reflects the gravity of the violation [para 49].

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