Communists Divided on Run Off Vote

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–Members of the Communist Party of Armenia are divided over which presidential candidate to support in the March 30 run-off election–communist leader Sergey Badalian told Noyan Tapan.

According to Badalian–very few CPA members are of the opinion that the party should endorse Karen Demirchian. There are a few more supporters for Robert Kocharian. But many insist that the party should not endorse either candidate.

Badalian assumed that in the runoff "Robert Kocharian will be under suspicion of illegitimacy." He didn’t explain whether he was referring to the length and validity of Kocharian’s Armenian citizenship or to the alleged election fraud.

Badalian expressed his regret that part of his electorate had failed to understand that Demirchian is not a Communist–"but of the same make as Shevardnadze–Aliyev and Gorbachev." By returning to politics–Demirchian "not only betrayed the Communist Party–but also stabbed in the back the party–its presidential candidate–and the people."

Badalian voiced fear over possible foreign policy consequences with either candidate coming into office. The attitudes of other countries toward a new president of Armenia–according to Badalian–will depend on their success in foisting their own Karabakh settlement schemes on him.

Badalian said that in determining its position for the March 30 election–the CPA has to consider domestic stability–national security and Nagorno-Karabakh. And–it also has to consider the possible isolation of Armenia from the outer world. The party must also think about unity within its ran’s and a possible backlash from the Communist electorate. "I’ve never sought the presidency just for my own ambitions; the party has always sacrificed itself and now it is prepared to do the same to avert the grave danger our country is facing," Badalian concluded.

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