Presidential Runner explains contenders’ motives behind backing Serz

Armenian presidential runner explains contenders’ motives behind
backing Serzh Sargsyan

14:00 ¢ 30.12.12

An Armenian political analyst, who is running as a candidate in the
upcoming presidential election, says he has found the way of revealing
those contenders who have decided to join the race in an effort to
increase the incumbent president’s re-election chances.

Speaking to, Andreas Ghukasyan said he doesn’t think the
ruling Republican Party of Armenia (RPA) has any moral, political or
legal right to participate in the February 18 polls with its own
candidate. What’s even more, Andreasyan is planning to submit to the
Central Election Commission what he calls a justified appeal for
declaring Serzh Sargsyan’s registration as a candidate null and void.

`It’s no secret that the abundance of candidates makes the Armenian
society a kind of suspicious. There are even comments that this aims
to create an illusion of competitiveness and ensuring the legitimacy
of Serzh Sargsyan. You too, nominated yourself as a candidate not
quite known to the Armenian society. ‘

`To reveal the contenders who run for election to facilitate Serzh
Sargsyan’s victory, I will ask all the opposition candidates on
January 8 to withdraw their candidacies. I think those contenders who
don’t join the offer may be viewed by the society as proponents of
Serzh Sargsyan.’

`Do you think the problems in Armenia are due to the absence or poor
quality f an election platform?’

`The problem is not limited to that. First of all, I think, it is
necessary to really rule out the RPA nominee’s participation in the
polls. That’s the only way to make the voters’ ballots somehow
significant for the election outcomes. I find that all those opposing
to polls marred by election bribes and rigging should now unitedly
reach an accord over the demand for depriving the RPA candidate of the
right to participate in the presidential election. Unless that is
achieved, the pre-election platforms will have no value.’

`Mr Ghukasyan, you have actively taken part in the Sardarapat
Movement’s debates boycotting the polls. One of them was entitled `An
extraordinary period called election: which is the way out?’ Now you
are nominating yourself as a presidential candidate. Isn’t that a
little bit conflicting?’

`If you compare the clauses I proposed in my speeches with those
reflected in the Action Plan for the President, you will see no
conflict. It was my position last year and remains so today that to
launch drastic reforms in Armenia constitutional changes are
necessary. I think a constitution is unlikely to become a basic law
for the society unless elaborated by a Constitutional Assembly
composed of free citizens with no party affiliation. ‘

`You sided with Sardarapat but you are not an elected member of the
pre-parliament or the initiative at all. Why didn’t you step aside as
they did and preferred to nominate yourself in an election that is
being boycotted by Sardarapat? Are there controversies?’

`All those who know I side with Sardarapat are also aware that I back
other initiatives aimed at implementing radical reforms in our
country. There have been no elections for pre-parliament members. To
the best of my knowledge, [Sardarapat Õ´Õ¥Õ´Õ¢Õ¥Õ¼] Garegin Chugaszyan just
invited a group of people to join the initiative ‘

`The National Consent party’s leader, Aram Harutyunyan, who has also
nominated himself as a presidential runner, said the election – in
case it is fair – will be followed by a run-off between Serzh Sargsyan
and himself. How do you evaluate your chances?’

`I think the election will be free and fair provided only the RPA
nominee does not participate in the process. The society knows the RPA
distributed election bribes last time. The practice of giving and
taking an election bribe is criminally punishable. So I don’t think
the RPA has a moral, political and legal right to stand for election
with its own candidate. That’s why on January 15 I am going to submit
to the Central Election Commission a justified appeal for declaring
the RPA candidate’s registration invalid. The arrangement of forces
will be obvious after a relevant decision by the CEC.’

`How do you evaluate your competitiveness against the backdrop of
[ex-Prime Minister] Hrant Bagratyan, [Heritage party leader] Raffi
Hovhannisyan, and the epic expert [Vardan Sedrakyan]?’

`That will depend on their contribution to the efforts towards
depriving the RPA candidate of the right to participate in the

`Why do you think the Prosperous Armenia party leader [Gagik
Tsarukyan], Levon Ter-Petrosyan and [the Armenian Revolutionary
Federation] Dashnaksutyun refrained from nominating candidacies. Don’t
you avoid nominating yourself?’

`They refrained from nominating [candidacies] because both the PAP and
the Armenian National Congress [of which Ter-Petrosyan is the leader],
as well as the ARF-D consider elections in terms of the chances to
accede to power. As you see, I view elections in Armenia from a
different angle. I find that political figures must seize the moment
to mobilize the society for banning the RPA’s participation at all.’

From: A. Papazian