Sociologist Predicts 65 Percent Voter Turnout

YEREVAN (Azg)–"65 percent of the eligible electorate of Armenia will participate in the upcoming elections," assessed chairman of the Union of Sociologists and of the Institute of Philosophy and Law–National Expert of the United Nations Gevorg Poghossian at a March 12 seminar.

"Initially neither the public nor the political parties were prepared for the election," he stressed–"yet the population has become more active in the last week." He said that one reason for this is perhaps because people are starting to feel that the election will be free and fair. Their orientation is clear–only 5-12 percent are yet undecided in their vote.

Poghossian found that three main candidates will earn 80-90 percent of votes–whereas eight candidates will not even collect enough votes to return their $4,000 pledge collecting 0.7 percent of the votes each.

The sociologist predicted that Kocharian–Karen Demirchian–Vazgen Manoukian–and Sergey Badalian will lead the election. There will be run-off election between Kocharian and Demirchian. He said voters would highly evaluate collaboration between the two. If they come to an agreement in the first stage–there will be no run-off. Theoretically–there will be another chance to bypass a run-off if Manoukian decides to join either party. Yet–Poghossian felt that none of the three is willing to make trade-offs–and they will all continue the fight. He stressed that they can only take votes from each other if some sensational–scandalous incident occurs.

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