NDU Won’t Support Either Candidate in Run Off

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–"Due to the fact that previous actions of the two presidential candidates participating in the run-off election do not implicate a future commonality with the ideals and stance of the National Democratic Union–the party has decided to not offer support to either candidate–and calls on its supporters and all political forces to target their efforts on ensuring free and fair election–at least in the run-off," read a statement issued by NDU chairman Vazgen Manoukian at a March 24 conference.

According to Manoukian–NDU’s analysis shows that like many other former Soviet and Eastern European countries–following a regime like that of Ter-Petrosyan it was expected that most of the population would–because of nostalgia–lean toward the Communists–and therefore the race would obviously be between a Communist and a non-Communist.

However–the NDU leader explained–the situation drastically changed with the nomination of Robert Kocharian which–according to Manoukian–was senseless–because it was clear–in advance–that Robert Kocharian would not garner the needed amount of votes without falsifications.

Manoukian noted that the three people–reportedly Robert Kocharian–Vazgen Sargssian–Serge Sargssian–who made Levon Ter-Petrosyan leave the political arena–should have "stepped aside" and ensured a free and fair election in an atmosphere of national unity. Manoukian said that would have greatly increased their popularity. He added–however–that "the junta is only trying to change the leader of the country."

If the election is not free and fair–according to Manoukian–it may play a tragic role for the fate of Nagorno-Karabakh. "We must not sacrifice democracy for any abstract national idea," he said.

Manoukian sharply criticized Karabakh’s state model. According to him–Karabakh has always been a militarized republic. "Nevertheless–taking into account the general situation–we have to put up with it," commented Manoukian. He noted that an attempt and aspiration to mar the society through running the election in an atmosphere of pressure led to NDU’s decision not to support Robert Kocharian in the run-off.

As for Karen Demirchian–Manoukian said that when Kocharian–being a representative of communist nomenclature–was fighting for Karabakh for the past ten years–Demirchian was silent and supported both the Armenian Constitution and Levon Ter-Petrosyan.

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