YEREVAN (Combined Sources)-Armenian Revolutionary Federation Bureau Representative Hrant Markarian criticized Former President Levon Ter-Petrosyan Friday for failing to carry out a civilized campaign by spreading lies and inciting tension and strife within the country.
Campaigning in the southeastern Syunik region on Thursday, Ter-Petrosian claimed that other presidential candidates, including the ARF’s Vahan Hovannesian, are helping Sarkisian win next week’s election.
"When he came to our office he said it was the right decision for the ARF to nominate its own candidate, because those who will vote for the ARF will never vote for him," Markarian explained. "But today he accuses us of secretly collaborating with Prime Minister Serzh Sarkisian,"
Markarian was referring to Ter-Petrosian’s September 30 visit to the ARF headquarters in Yerevan during which he met with Markarian and ARF of Armenia Supreme Body Representative Armen Rustamian. It was the first time that the former president set foot in the offices of a party which he had accused of terrorist activity and banned during his rule. Markarian said after that meeting that the two sides agreed to stay within the bounds of a political, and ideological struggle within an atmosphere of tolerance and solidarity in the country."
Criticism of the policies and practices of Armenia’s current and former regimes has been a major point of the ARF’s election campaign, with Hovannesian offering viable options to rectify the wrongs of the past, and prevent those of the future. Since the beginning of the elections, Vahan Hovannesian has been presenting himself and the ARF as a viable alternative to the two mutually hostile camps fighting for power.
"They [the ANM] had fallen for ten years and we didn’t hit them, we spared them," Markarian told a news conference, referring to the former Armenian leadership. "We never spoke out [against them.] On the contrary, we invited them to all of our events."
"Against all odds we let him come to our office and, in a sense, repent his past, hoping that we are making a fresh start, a civilized start," Markarian continued. "But once a few thousand people rallied around him, he adopted the same stance and is again saying the same things."
Markarian also condemned Ter-Petrosian’s malicious remarks Thursday that failure by opposition candidate, Artur Baghdasarian, to endorse the ex-president is tantamount to "treason."
"If Artur Baghdasarian joins him, he is a god guy," Markarian said. "If not, he is a traitor. How can he say that?"
The authorities have also deliberately thwarted any real "clash of political views, ideas and platforms" during the election campaign by restricting its coverage by the country’s main TV stations loyal to the government and forcing them not to broadcast campaign ads in prime time, Markarian said.
"They have made every effort to ensure that this [presidential] struggle takes place in an apolitical atmosphere, in the dark, at the level of slogans and rallies," he said.