YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan–Armenpress)–The Constitutional Rights Union and the "Russia-Belarus Union" Organization both announced Tuesday their endorsement for Acting President and Prime Minister Robert Kocharian for Monday’s upcoming presidential run-off elections.
During a special representative session–CRU chairman Hrand Khachatrian stated that Kocharian’s platform and views best represented the interests and policies of the CRU and urged all to cast their ballots for Kocharian.
In his remarks–Khachatrian also discussed alleged election violations and stated that while those so-called violations were unacceptable–the March 16 elections could not be compared with the violent outcome of the 1996 presidential polls–during which troops loyal to former president Levon Ter-Petrosyan opened fire on opposition forces.
Khachatrian also announced that he had held meetings with Kocharian during which a slew of issues was addressed–among them a proposal to expand the Armenia’s national security council to include representatives from influential political parties in Armenia.
While the two did not reach a final agreement on the matter–Khachatrian was confident that following the elections the issue could–once again–be revisited.
He and Kocharian also discussed issues related to Armenia’s socio-economic crisis–where they exchanged views and opinions on the matter.
Khachatrian announced that he demanded that results of the prosecutor general’s investigation into alleged election violation be publicized.
At the same time the "Russian-Belarus Union" Organization in Armenia called on all those who supported the initiative and signed a petition last year to cast their ballots for Kocharian.
Organization vice-president Aghassi Arshakian stated at a news conference that Kocharian’s efforts to unite the Armenian nation.–his approaches in strengthening Armenia’s national security–as well as his commitment to democracy and rule of law qualify him to become the next president of Armenia.
Arshakian also discussed the report by the elections monitors representing the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe–who had given a generally unfavorable review of the elections.
The leaders stated that the violations during the 1996 election much more severe that those allegations of violations during the 1998 presidential polls. He criticized the OSCE for its election monitoring evaluation and stressed that serious inroads were made in holding free and fair elections.
Arshakian also urged the Communist Party of Armenia–whose chairman Sergey Badalian was a presidential candidate–to endorse Kocharian for the runoff.
Badalian was scheduled to announce his party’s position Wednesday. Arshakian also stated that recent changes in the government of Russia were purely internal Russian politics and did not expect Armeno-Russian relations to be effected by a recent decision by Russian President Boris Yeltsin to fire his entire cabinet.