Hovannesian says President Should have Unquestionable Legitimacy

Armenian presidential candidate and ARF Bureau member Vahan Hovannesian

YEREVAN (Yerkir)–The upcoming presidential election should be conducted in such high-level moral conditions that no suspicion of its legitimacy are raised, said Armenian Presidential Candidate and ARF Bureau Member Vahan Hovannesian during a press conference Thursday.
"We need a president with unquestionable legitimacy, a president that everyone would congratulate," he said. Until now, the run-up to presidential election has been marred by bitter recriminations traded by President Robert Kocharian and Prime Minister Serzh Sarkisian on one side and former President Levon Ter-Petrosian on the other, he said.
"It is unfortunate that Armenia is entering the election period with two hostile poles," he said, adding, however, that a third political force has already emerged. The ARF, he said, has a "more than real chance" to win the February 19 election. "A three-horse race will totally change the situation."
Hovhannesian did not reveal the details of his campaign strategy or platform, noting that the pre-election campaign has not yet started. The party will bring surprises during the campaign, he said.
"We see a need for certain changes," Hovannesian said. Despite the fact that the ARF has cooperated with the government for the past 9 years, the party has serious disagreemen’s with the domestic policies of the current authorities, he added.
"The policy of granting [economic] privileges to monopolies" is slowly leading to political monopolization as well and this is extremely dangerous for the future of Armenia, he warned. It is necessary to launch a struggle against monopoly in Armenia, the candidate exclaimed.
Hovhannesian argued that both the monopolization of the economy and liberal approaches are no longer effective for the country. He suggested that more social mechanisms must be applied.
He said that another reason that prompted ARF to name its candidate is the outcome of the past May 12 parliamentary elections, in which the Republican Party celebrated a sweeping victory. The deputy speaker argued that if the Republican’s candidate wins the presidential election there will be a complete monopolization of power by one party.
"The new president of the country must improve tax and customs systems, and eliminate election fraud," Hovannesian said. "If a Republican is elected president his chances to do so would be very limited,"
Hovhanesian said regardless of the election’s outcome the ARF will cooperate with all political forces, whose approaches coincide with its own.
"We cannot ignore the fact that the Republican Party represents a majority in the parliament, and we will be cooperating with them irrespective of the outcome of the upcoming presidential elections," he added.

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