Kocharian Responds to Predecessor’s Criticism

YEREVAN (Armenpress)–President Robert Kocharian Tuesday responded to former president Levon Ter-Petrosian’s criticisms of the current authorities during a reception last Friday organized by his Armenian National Movement to mark Independence Day.
Branding the current authorities in Yerevan as “criminal and corrupt,” Ter-Petrosian Friday commented that he had not yet decided whether to run in the presidential elections due in early 2008.
Asked by journalists to comment on these remarks, Kocharian said if his predecessor decides to re-inject into big politics and contest the highest post of the country he will not differ from many “ordinary” oppositional leaders with presidential ambitions.
“I believe that the first president of Armenia is surrounded by with an aura of mystery,” said Kocharian. There must be a sort of mystery connected with the establishment of our independent state and this responsibility should be first of all sensed by the former president.”
Kocharian said that Armenia’s double-digit economic growth would not be possible if his administration was corrupt and criminal.
“Armenia is one of the fastest growing economies in the world. This growth goes hand in hand with massive reforms. If Ter-Petrosian’s assessmen’s were true Armenia would have never achieved this development rate,” Kocharian said.
He said when he was appointed prime minister ten years ago he received a legacy of a $300 million budget with a $40 million deficit. The 2008 budget is to grow to $2.5 billion. “One has to be in a deep seclusion not to see all these achievemen’s,’ Kocharian said.

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