HRAZDAN, Armenia (Yerkir)–"I was a free man during Soviet Rule; I was free when Ter-Petrosian through me in imprison; I’m free now; and I am going to fight to you your freedom to you," Presidential Candidate Vahan Hovannesian told voters in Hrazdan Thursday as he concluded his campaign trail through Kotayk Province.
Hovannesian and his campaign team began the day of campaigning with a visit to the Hrazdanmash metalworks factory in Hrazdan, where the presidential candidate asked workers about issues of concern to them and introduced them to his platform. Throughout the day, his campaign also visited the cities of Bjni, Charentsavan and Arzakand. Since the beginning of his pre-election campaign, Hovannesian and his team have visited 228 different localities reported his campaign office.
According to factory worker Gevork Charchafjian, Hrazdanmash was established with a workforce of 15 in 1999 and has since expanded to 150 workers. It cooperates with partners in China and India and exports 99 percent of the tin moldings it produces to Russia, Ukraine, the United Arab Emirates.
This factory was established in some of the most difficult conditions, yet it was able to accomplish so much in such a short period of time, Hovannesian told the workers and engineers of Hrazdanmash.
"You are doing what our entire country should be doing. You are exporting," Hovannesian exclaimed. "You are our last heavy industry forge where our country prepares workers and engineers."
"But why aren’t the other factories operating? And why has Hrazdanmash remained in despair," he asked. "Hrazdanmash is in this condition because the Armenian entrepreneur doesn’t invest here as a result of the bad policies of the central bank and customs services."
"It takes great patriotism for people to take the risk and create jobs here," He continued. "But not everyone can rely solely on patriotism to inspire them to invest in the economy of the country like those who invested in this factory have done."
The Mafia Clans have merged with the authorities and are suffocating our producers," Hovannesian exclaimed as he promised the workers that the implementation of his platform will yield serious and visible changes in a short amount of time.
Later in the day, Hovannesian’s campaign held a rally at the Hrazdan town squar where members of Hovannesian’s campaign spoke to voters about Hovannesian’s ability to meet the many challenges facing Armenia.
The country faces serious challenges; Armenia does not have a competitive edge in the region as its population is small and its possibilities are few, according to ARF Parliamentary Faction member Ara Nranyan. Armenia has serious economic issues that only Vahan Hovannesian can solve. He is the only one who can correct the existing injustices in our economy, he said.
"People are always telling us that they cannot decide which candidate to support because all the programs seem good," Nranyan said. "But this isn’t the case. In reality, the other candidates are trying to throw society into confusion."
"Vahan Hovannesian’s campaign platform clearly specifies that he sees the development of the country as dependent on the development of its industry, the creation of businesses and most importantly by giving people freedom and opportunity," he continued. "We are not lowering poverty by giving people subsidies, we are in fact increasing it."
Deputy Minister of Educaiton and Science Bagrat Yesayan followed Nranyan and spoke to people about the ARF and explained to voters why they should vote for Vahan Hovannesian as Armenia’s next president. The ARF, he said, has always dedicated itself to doing what was necessary for the Armenian people at any given moment.
"The ARF did not decompose or disappear over time like some other political parties, instead it continues to stand by the people," Yesayan said. The ARF has never strayed from its beginnings and Vahan Hovannesian is the bearer of that tradition because, although he occupies high positions, he has stayed away from the workings of the mafia and has not become a corrupt official."
Hovannesian then introduced his campaign platform to the people at the rally. The most important things for Armenia, according to Hovannesian, are the freedom of the individual, the breakup of monopolies, the blooming of the economy, the creation of businesses and the facilitation of investment in the country’s agricultural and industrial development.
During his visit in Charentsavan, Hovannesian told voters that he values working people and promised that if they trust him on February 19, he will make sure the cities reputation as a technical center is restored. In Bjni, he spoke to voters about Bjni’s potential to become a great center for tourism because of the immense treasures he himself had excavated there as an archeologist. Bjni, he said, is a historic place.
Throughout his campaign through Kotayk’s towns and cities, Hovannesian reassured voters of his intentions to struggle for the presidency till the end and asked that they not believe the false rumors that are being circulated about his campaign.