Kocharian Addresses Legality of His Candidacy

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–"My participation in the presidential election is not questionable from a legal standpoint," Acting President and Prime Minister Robert Kocharian said in an interview with "Aravot" daily newspaper–commenting on allegations of his candidacy being in violation of Article 50 of the Armenian Constitution. The Article limits the presidency of Armenia to "any person who has been a citizen of Armenia and resident of Armenia for ten consecutive years."

According to Kocharian–the independent Republic of Armenia does not yet have a ten year history–and–therefore–no Armenian citizen meets the requirement of the constitution. He also noted that for seven years he was Deputy Chairman of Armenia’s Supreme Council–and Prime Minister of Armenia for almost a year. "If I have no such right–who then has it?" Kocharian asked.

Furthermore–according to Kocharian–the issue if further clarified by the Supreme Council’s December 1–1989–declaration of Armenia-Karabakh reunification.

Denying the allegations of a forcible seizure of power–Kocharian assured that a process directly in contradiction to a forcible seizure of power will happen. In particular–he noted that in case he is elected President of Armenia–the Constitution will be amended to introduce a balance of powers within different branched of the government.

Asked if he will give ARF figures key governmental positions–Kocharian answered: "We agreed with ARF members that we should not distribute chairs before the election–but I definitely think that political forces are to be represented in the power structures."

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