Republicans Endorse Kocharian

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–The Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) led by Prime Minister Antranig Markarian on Saturday formally endorsed President Robert Kocharian’s reelection bid–stating that his policies have been successful and remain in tune with the HHK agenda.

Markarian told hundreds of party activists–among them many government members–to "actively" campaign for Kocharian’s victory in the February 19 elections. Speaking to a pre-election party convention–he again rejected accusations of betraying the legacy of Vazgen Sarkisian–the HHK founder assassinated in the October 1999 attack on the Armenian parliament.

"Today there are no facts testifying to any diversion from our common principles agreed with the president–which would give the Republicans reason to review their attitude [toward Kocharian]," Markarian said in his speech.

"The positive changes registered in the country’s economic–political reforms and the foreign policy sphere as a result of his five-year work are obvious to us," he said.

Markarian also insisted that the late Sarkisian made a right decision when he backed Kocharian’s rise to power in 1998. "Vazgen is not alive now and some people are now using that fact to present him as a deluded person," he said.

"We want to have a [parliamentary] majority that would ensure the government’s uninterrupted work," Markarian told reporters on the sidelines of the gathering.

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