(PanARMENIAN.Net-RFE/RL)–In a statement to "Golos Armenii," the Armenia’s Minister of Defense Serge Sarkissian said that Armenian authorities are now "as interested in holding free and fair elections as never before. If the people didn’t believe in the just outcome of elections–they would not vote," he said–noting that Armenia will hold elections as a Council of Europe member for the first time and "that binds us to many things."
"It’s just that there are individuals who constantly instill [in people’s minds] that fair elections are not possible here. We will try to prove the opposite." On the question of military meddling–Sarkisian said that coercion of any type is ruled out–but if a serviceman votes "in the way his minister thinks necessary," he can only welcome that. He also reminded that the coming elections will be monitored by a great number of international observers.
Sarkisian–who will manage President’s Kocharian’s reelection campaign–also denies reports about serious differences between various government factions and political parties supporting the incumbent. "I believe that there is complete and mutual understanding in that camp," he says. "There were some issues six or eight months ago. But that’s a past stage and there are no differences inside the [presidential] team today."