Balayan Condemns Governmental and Diasporan Interference in Catholicos Election

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–"I have information that the Security Coucil of Armenia discussed the issue of electing the Catholicos of All Armenia’s and decided to support the candidacy of Garegin Nersissian," the public and political figure–ARF member Kim Balayan told Noyan Tapan–commenting on the demand of interim Catholicos and other church fathers that the country’s authorities not interfere in the elections of Catholicos.

"As a lawyer I am concerned," Balayan said. "The authorities’ interference in the church affairs is in itself illegal. According to Article 5 of the Constitution the government bodies and officials have the right to carry out statutory activities–and according to the Law on the President of the Republic of Armenia–the Law on the National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia and the Law on the Government of the Republic of Armenia–none of these bodies has the right to interfere in church affairs," the lawyer said. Moreover–the Law of the Republic of Armenia on Religion bans the state’s interference in church affairs.

"If our authorities allow themselves to interfere–they will lay the ground for more interference," K. Balayan said. Rumors are already circulating that influential financial circles in the Diaspora are showing interest in one candidate or another–and promise to make investmen’s if a certain candidate if elected," he said. In particular–"$6 million was given to the Armenian authorities–and another $20 million were promised if a certain candidate is elected." According to Balayan–if such conditions are set for making investmen’s–"it is not investmen’s any more–but criminal intervention in Armenia’s domestic affairs."

Noyan Tapan turned to Presidential Spokesman Vahe Gabrielian who pointed out that the president stated that there will be no interference in the elections of the Catholicos on the government’s part. As for the meeting of the Security Council–the presidential spokesman’stated that these meetings are secret. "Neither I nor–I am sure–Kim Balayan–nor anyone else can be informed about the meetings of the Security Council," the presidential spokesman’said.


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