Kocharian Challenges Demirchian to Debate

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–"We are satisfied with the results of the March 16 vote," Acting President–Prime Minister and presidential candidate Robert Kocharian’s campaign spokesman Aghvan Vardanian said–adding that Kocharian needs just a bit more of an energetic campaign to win the race and become a president with a clear program of action on economic–political and social issues.

The spokesman’said that their team had been running a positive campaign thusfar–winning the electorate by presenting their candidate’s positive qualities and his record as prime minister. Vardanian pointed out that the other candidates had been trying to discredit the process from the very beginning by ignoring the progress made since the previous presidential election. "It’s impossible to eliminate all shortcomings and hold an ideal election–but the government has been able to ensure a much better election process. To challenge that fact means to undermine the country’s prestige and discredit its people," said Vardanian.

"Some candidates tended to run campaigns far filthier than before," Vardanian maintained. To reaffirm his statement–he referred to anti-Karabakh articles and publications recently appearing in the Russian press. "Our enemies had been trying hard to cast a severe blow to Karabakh–and now our own political forces are launching an offensive against it," the spokesman commented. Vardanian used the word "treachery" in describing their behavior. He gave assurances that–in the second round if election–the Kocharian staff would take steps investigate the origin and purpose of that anti-Karabakh campaign.

The spokesman also voiced Kocharian’s willingness to hold a debate with presidential candidate Karen Demirchian–saying that the latter can regard the statement as a formal invitation.

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