Kocharian Responds to Opposition Allegation

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–In a Friday press conference–Acting President–Prime Minister and presidential candidate Robert Kocharian refuted all allegations that the government was attempting to create an atmosphere of fear and threatening the public with pressure to elect for Kocharian–claiming that such reports were being fabricated by opposing forces.

Kocharian explained that his opponents were publicizing such falsifications in order to be able to deny the fair and free nature of the elections following their loss in the elections. He explained that–in second round of the campaigning–his competitor had taken the position of critic of not only Kocharian but also the entire electoral process–perhaps–Kocharian said–"because he has nothing to say…This is probably a favorable form of campaigning–but not the best form."

Asked whether Karen Demirchian supporters who are big business owners are perhaps dissatisfied with current tax laws–Kocharian said that "they are the former members of the Ministry of Industry circles–and owe a significant amount of money to the budget–social security fund–as well as the same people who actively participated in the destruction of the Artshinbank. There is the driving for of self-interest here. Things will fall into place after the elections."

Regarding Ashot Bleyan’s most recent statement endorsing Karen Demirchian in the run-off elections–Kocharian said–"The best anecdote during these elections is the one about a candidate which had enormous electoral support–but in a neighboring country. I hope that that electorate does not participate in the elections–and that statement will not have substantial effects." Kocharian continued to say that perhaps Bleyan could be Karen Demirchian’s adviser in matters of the educational system.

Kocharian was accepting of the fact that there exist a strong opposition in the country–however–he was unable to assess whether Demirchian–following his possible defeat–could become such a strong opposition force.

He said that would depend on with which forces Demirchian surrounds himself. He predicted that Demirchian will not be able to become a threatening opposition force if he continues to surround himself with members of the Communist nomenclature.

Kocharian explained that "certain forces are still continuing to burn the bridges." He refused to identify those forces–however–expressed hope by stating that "perhaps–they will leave one rope." Stressing that he has not burnt any bridges–Kocharian insisted that politicians should prioritize national interests over personal ambitions.

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