Justice and Unity’ Not to Run With Joint Slate in Elections

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–The Justice and Unity alliance–a loose grouping of political parties supporting President Robert Kocharian–will not participate in the upcoming parliamentary elections with a joint list of candidates–one of its leaders said on Thursday.

"There will hardly be a pre-election bloc encompassing all parties of Justice and Unity," said Aleksandr Aghamalian of the Scientific-Industrial and Civic Union–in an interview with RFE/RL. He said the seven parties of the grouping have "fairly different approaches," with some of them–including the SICU–engaging in a "constructive criticism" of the authorities and others being more supportive. He said Justice and Unity is likely to split into "two or three" electoral alliances in the run-up to the elections expected in May.

The pro-Kocharian grouping was created in March 1998 to back up his bid for the Armenian presidency. Among its members is the Yerkrapah Union–seen as the main pro-government force in Armenia. Yerkrapah which is now formally transforming into a politically party–has said it will not form any blocs with other parties during the elections. Another major Justice and Unity party–the Armenian Revolutionary Federation–is also likely to run with its own list of candidates.

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