Vazgen Manoukian Says “A Page Has Been Turned”

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–The recent parliamentary elections in Armenia were "neither free nor fair," Chairman of the National Democratic Union Vazgen Manoukian told a news conference Tuesday. He laid special emphasis on the problems with voter lists and pre-election bribes–stressing the problem of controlling the financial sources and saying that all of them are hidden.

However–according to the NDU leader–the party’s faction in the newly elected Parliament will not object to the results of the elections. On the contrary–they intend to take an active part in the Parliament’s activities. Manoukian explained this position in the following way: the time is different–and the NDU–which always assumed the role of "the leading racing cyclist clearing the air for others" does not intend to play this role now.

As for the current parliamentary majority–the "Unity" bloc–Vazgen Manoukian refrained from giving assessmen’s to its leaders–pointing out that "one page has been turned over in Armenia–and much depends on how a new one will be written." Manoukian did not rule out the possibility that President Robert Kocharian and the "Unity" bloc leaders–in particular–Vazgen Sargssian will come to terms.

Commenting on the ANM Board Chairman Vano Siradeghian’s being elected member of Parliament–Manoukian pointed out that the NDU faction expressed its definite attitude by supporting the Prosecutor General’s petition for Vano Siradeghian to be arrested and criminal proceedings to be initiated against him. But at present the NDU does not consider this issue to be a key one in determining the first steps of its future parliamentary activities.

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