Electing New Ombudsman: Ruling party nominee likely to win vote in parliament

A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Law School who has served as Armenia’s deputy minister of justice is likely to become Armenia’s next ombudsperson after the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (RPA) nominated his candidacy for the post late last week.

The candidacy of Arman Tatoyan, 35, who had also served in other senior positions in Armenia and internationally, including Deputy Representative (Deputy Agent) of the Government of Armenia before the European Court of Human Rights, International Legal Adviser at the Council of Europe’s Directorate General of Human Rights and Rule of Law and others, will have to be endorsed by the National Assembly’s standing committee on state and legal affairs before being debated and voted on by the full parliament on February 12.

Despite the nomination by other parliament members and factions of at least two other candidates, including opposition Heritage party member Zaruhi Postanjyan, Tatoyan is likely to be approved by the committee dominated by RPA members.

The RPA, which holds a majority of seats in the 131-member National Assembly, is also likely to ensure the approval of Tatoyan’s candidacy by the full chamber.

The ombudsman’s position has been vacant since its previous holder, Karen Andreasyan, unexpectedly resigned in January. Andreasyan did not give clear reasons for his step, leading some opposition groups to suggest that he may have come under government pressure.

Ombudsmen are elected for a period of six years in Armenia. The next elected ombudsman will become the country’s fourth since the introduction of this public office in 2004.