ANALYSIS


MAIN INTRIGUE OF FORTHCOMING PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS IN ARMENIA

Armenia prepares for presidential elections forthcoming on February 19, 2008. As Prime Minister Serzh Sarkisyan at the meeting with the special representative of EU on Southern Caucasus Peter Semneby has stated, authorities of Armenia are very interested in the organization and carrying out of these elections at the highest level so that anybody did not have a doubt in their objectivity and transparency. Alongside with use of exit poll, he has suggested to involve in parallel some of the authoritative organizations which will carry out high-grade monitoring of the electronic and printing press that there were no doubt in objectivity. Besides, for realization of supervision on presidential elections five local organizations are involved: "Erebuni" - 3 observers, Open Society Institute - 1405, "Your Choice" - 4010, "Mutk" – 40, "Justice and the Law" - 616 observers. Director of the Service of National Security of Armenia Gorik Akopyan has assured both the government and people that employees of the Service in the frame of its authorities would stop encroachments on constitutional order during the pre-election period. The statements are, certainly, worthy, if someone will observe them. For now, all is per contra.

According to the ex-president of Armenia Levon Ter-Petrosyan, today, in Armenia there is a criminal administrative personnel corrupted from above up to the bottom, the relations of which are adjusted not by laws and by will of people, neither by political dialogue, but by the rules of the criminal world. An explosion has already erupted at the entrance in office of the oppositional newspaper "Chorord shikhanutyun" ("The Fourth Power"), as a result of which the latter has been completely destroyed. There is a real "witch-hunt", and followers of the ex-president, the oppositional forces undergo every possible attack. "Explosion in the office of the newspaper "Chorord shikhanutyun" endangers establishment of freedom of speech and dissent" - Ombudsman of Armenia Armen Arutyunyan has stated. The incident was also condemned by the "New Times" Party, which declared, that it is "the next display of political vandalism”.

The Karabakh clan well realizes, that Ter-Petrosyan has great chances to return to power, therefore, he is labeled as "traitor", who, having assumed the post of the president, immediately will give Karabakh and other occupied territories to Azerbaijan. And present authorities of Armenia are not away to enter with Azerbaijan a deal, anyhow, stating about the readiness for compromises in the Karabakh question, and doing it in Armenian style. For example, look at the statement of Prime Minister Serzh Sarkisyan applying for post of the president of Armenia: "It is important, that Armenia has recognized territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, and Azerbaijan - the right of the people of Nagorno Karabakh to self-determination". As if self-determination of Armenians is not an encroachment on territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. Though he for the first time has talked about necessity of recognition of the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan.

In other word, they attempt to intercept the initiative from Ter-Petrosyan, who is well known in the West. In these purpose, they don`t allow Ter-Petrosyan and his political supporters to communicate with the population by means of TV. Is that not a direct proof that the authorities of Armenia ignoring freedom of speech, pluralism and creation of equal conditions for all political forces, do not understand basic principles of democratic society. Such country cannot be called democratic. George Kolombe, co-rapporteur of the Monitoring Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on Armenia, has also expressed concern with the facts of administrative pressure and intimidation of mass media by police and the general pre-election atmosphere in this country.

Let`s take sociological poll on the presidential elections forthcoming in Armenia, conducted in Armenia by a youth alliance. According to its data, 27,4 % of respondents have voted for Serzh Sarkisyan, then follows Vaan Ovannesyan - 15,2 %, further Levon Ter-Petrosyan - 14,5 %, Arthur Bagdasaryan - 9,6 %, Vazgen Manukyan - 6,6 %, Artashes Gegamyan - 4,4 %, Tigran Karapetyan - 3,6 %, Aram Arutyunyan and Arman Melikyan - on 0,3 %. It is notable, that the former adviser of the head of separatists of Karabakh, opposing returning of the occupied territories and using aggressive rhetoric in pre-election campaign, has garnered only 0,3 % of the voices.

The poll was conducted on 13-14 December, involving one thousand respondents. According to the leader of People Party of Armenia Stepan Demirchyan, the main intrigue of forthcoming elections is nomination of the first president. The tendency of growth of rating of the first president Levon Ter-Petrosyan confirm both results of poll and meetings of opposition, Stepan Demirchyan underlined.

He is opposed by the candidate for president from the Armenian Revolutionary Federation "Dashnaksutun" Vaan Ovannesyan, who stated that "before checking results of polls, it is necessary to consider the fact who has ordered it": He said: "I do not believe, that Serzh Sarkisyan leads, and I do not trust, that the first president of Armenia Levon Ter-Petrosyan is supported by 52 % of the population".

Explaining the reason of nomination of own candidate, the head of parliamentary fraction of Armenian Revolutionary Federation Dashnaktsutun” Grayr Karapetyan has told: "In 1998, АRFD supported change of political line of the country leaders, first of all, the foreign policy, which also Robert Kocharyan backed. And when the incumbent president cannot stand, for us it is the time to nominate our own candidate".

The Communist Party of Armenia considers, that people stands aside from political processes and "is interested in no candidates for president" and consequently has decided to stand aside of pre-election run, not supporting any of candidates. The leader of People Party of Armenia considers, that the main struggle on presidential elections will be developed between Levon Ter-Petrosyan and Serzh Sarkisyan.

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