Hovanessian Calls New Election Mood Artificial

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–"I deem Argumen’s for and against convening new presidential elections artificial," said Armenian Revolutionary Federation Executive Council of Armenia member and the chairman of the Parliamentary Commission on National Security Vahan Hovanessian during an interview with Noyan Tapan Thursday.

Acknowledging that the president has been severely weakened by the Oct. 27 events–Hovanessian said that in this case "we must first ask the president to remain strong." The ARF leader cast doubt on whether a new president would be able to govern the country more easily.

"Perhaps certain forces will be content by such a change [in power]–however given our constitution and generally our government infrastructure–this thing called a Cleptocracy–the government of thieves–you can bring down Jesus Christ or Dork Ankegh–it’s all the same," commented Hovanessian.

The ARF leader said the climate in the country is such that one must not focus on constant change in power–but rather work toward strengthening the positions of the president–the prime minister and the National Assembly.

"Since the ‘Cleptocracy’ continues–cosmetic changes won’t change much," said Hovanessian.

The leader added that although events such as the Oct. 27 parliament killings would create crisis in the most developed of nations–the investigation into the killings for some has served as an opportunity to veil their own inactivity.

Hovanessian opined that the country is being held hostage by rhetoric such as "the country cannot function until the events are not revealed."

Hovanessian emphasized that the current economic crisis in Armenia is the worst the country has seen–yet no productive impulses are being observed from the president’s office. He added that the cabinet is also not functioning as if each minister was waiting for a reshuffle and wondering whether they would lose their job. The ARF leader also said that the National Assembly "does not want to return from its vacation–as if it has done a lot."

The parliamentary leader said that while a wait and see situation has been created in the country–the people of Armenia are continuing to suffer from the cold and economic instability.

He told the Noyan Tapan reporter that he neither wanted to praise nor criticize the current investigation into the Oct. 27 events–adding that "everyone must to his/her job regardless of the investigation process."

Meanwhile–Armenia’s leading political parties do not share NDU Leader Vazgen Manoukian’s opinion of the need for an early presidential election–political party leaders said in an interview to the Armenian National Television.

They stated that they had not discussed the possibility of holding an early presidential election with the NDU leader. Meanwhile–at his news conference on January 19–Manoukian stated that Armenia’s "leading political forces share" his opinion.

Among the political figures interviewed by the Armenian National Television were Chairman of the Republican Party Andranik Margarian–representative of ARF David Lokian–First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Armenia Vladimir Darbinian–Chairman of the "Constitutional Right" Union Hrant Khachatrian–Chairman of the "National Unity" party Artashes Geghamian.

The calls for Kocharian’s resignation began following the Oct. 27 events in the parliament. His opponents–who are mainly alligned with the military elite have begun a campaign to discredit the president and cast blame for Oct. 27.


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