No Candidate Withdrew From Presidential Race Says CEC

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–The Central Electoral Commission reported Wednesday that none of the 12 presidential candidates dropped out from the race–given that Wednesday was the deadline for candidates to withdraw.

At a news conference Tuesday–CEC chairman Khatchatur Bezirdjian said that "The Central Electoral Commission proceeded from documen’s submitted when registering Robert Kocharian as a candidate for the upcoming presidential election."

Speaking at the National Press Club–Bezirdjian said that it was not up to the CEC to determine where and when a candidate has lived–that is the task of other governmental agencies. He also commented that the Monday session of the CEC should not have grown into a discussion of the status of Karabakh.

"In 1989-90–when Kocharian returned to the Supreme Council of Soviet Socialist Republic of Armenia–and later elected a member of the Supreme Council Executive–no one even acknowledged his being from Karabakh," emphasized Bezirdjian. He also stressed that when sent abroad–Kocharian–as well as other citizens of Karabakh–were always considered as citizens of Armenia–which–Bezirdjian thought–was natural. "Karabakh has not been recognized as a sovereign state yet and–therefore–people living there are either citizens of Armenia or Azerbaijan."

According to the CEC chairman–even when Soviet passports were still valid and people were considered citizens of the USSR–members of Karabakh’s delegations had Armenian stamps in their passports.

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