Vazgen Manoukian Outlines Need for Fair Elections

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–"The National-Democratic Union currently aims it resources at creating the proper conditions for holding fair election in this country. Now we lack discipline–however in that aspect NDU intends launching steps towards strengthening and enlarging the party–as well as establishing contacts with other organizations," NDU leader Vazgen Manoukian said at news conference–held in overview of the year since last September’s presidential elections and the ensuing events–Monday.

According to him–NDU did not want to seize the power on Sept. 25 of last year. The issue at hand was whether Armenia will become a state whose fate is determined by the people–or whether it will be ruled by a group of people with a self-absorbed way of thinking who assign primary importance to personal goals.

"We made a bid to remedy the situation by trying to do things justly. However those actions were presented as an attempt to seize power," he commented.

Manoukian voiced his regret over the fact that the Armenian people failed to secure unity on Sept. 22. He holds that the example of post-Frankist Spain when the king managed to rally all forces under the motto "common problems and common responsibility" was very evident in that aspect.

The NDU leader argued that the idea of national unification offered by the Armenian authorities by no means met that principle. That idea suggests the following: "we shall always be in power–everybody should rally around the authorities to resolve the Karabakh conflict." That kind of unification does not involve responsibility–Manoukian maintained.

He was extremely negative in describing the country’s political and economic situation. Manoukian thinks that the situation has deteriorated during the past year in spite of some external shifts–such as in the fields of industry–agriculture and even in the field of trade where the recently introduced changes are likely to lead to the creation of one or two trade monopolies.

Manoukian paid particular attention in his speech to the estimation of the ideals of the Karabakh movement that underwent considerable changes during the rule of the current authorities. Thus–according to him–great deviations took place in estimating the role of the Armenian people in the processes now going on in the world.

The idea that the Armenian people is the most ordinary nation is being widely popularized–including by Hrant Matevossian–a famous Armenian writer. According to Manoukian–such an approach has deprived the Armenian people of its development prospects and at the same time relieved the authorities of responsibility for the resolution of a great number of problems. Besides–another major principle of the Karabakh movement – the nation should rely on itself only–was also broken; today people in Armenia very often pin their hopes for the future on the recommendations of the World Bank and others.

Those principles are of great importance–Manoukian said–as from the very beginning they became the basic principles of the independent country’s policies–including its foreign policies. As for the latter–the NDU leader described it as lazy–saying that Armenia’s foreign policy does not make use of all its possibilities first of all in resolving the Karabakh problem.

"I would have raised the problem of Karabakh’s independence still in 1992-93 when following the seizure of Kelbajar–Fizuli and Aghdam the backbone of the Azeri army was broken and there was panic in Azerbaijan–while international forces had not united yet. I deem that in that tense moment one might have tried to resolve the issue in that way. However–the problem wasn’t resolved then and we entered a new stage giving preference to the idea of unification of all Armenia’s in resolving the crisis. Instead of that–the activities of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation were banned–petty games in relation to the Diaspora started–games that made us weaker. We can’t yield in the matter of Karabakh’s independence whatever the international pressure is," Manoukian stated. He pointed out the need for direct talks between the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic and Azerbaijan.

Asked to speak about his attitude towards the National Accord Alliance–Manoukian said that the creation of the union failed to prove its value.

The union has collapsed–but it does not imply that the party will give up its goals. He mentioned that the cooperation with those parties that share NDU’s approaches will be continued.

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