YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–At a public meeting in the Arabkir district of Yerevan–Acting President and Prime Minister Robert Kocharian–one of three top contenders in next week’s presidential election–gave detailed explanation of his campaign platform and reiterated his decision to not hold the office of Prime Minister after the election.
The candidate said that he was fully aware of the country’s problems–including the economic ones–and that he had a serious program of action to deal with them. He maintained that he had been tackling the issue of unemployment by promoting economic and industrial growth ever since he took the office of Prime Minister. Kocharian noted that he had failed to appreciate the amount of resistance his programs would meet. Nevertheless–he added–the investment policy had made some progress. Kocharian pledged to continue–if elected–his policy of consistent repayment of loans.
Kocharian commented that these public meetings presented a good chance for voters to get an idea of a candidate’s record and consider his pledges and actual potential. According to Kocharian–there is an exceptional opportunity today to decide the future and overcome mistrust. Kocharian urged all voters to go to the polls so that a new president will enjoy a majority vote and feel a greater popular mandate. He added that only then will people be confident in their choice.
The candidate said one of the major tasks today is to ensure involvement of all political forces. "It’s time we stopped dividing our society into authorities and opposition–those in office and those without a position. Healthy forces should be involved both in domestic and foreign policies," said Kocharian. He called unacceptable the banning of any political party–saying that that would not occur during his presidency.
Kocharian called on his opponents to respect one another. Commenting on the legality of his registration as presidential candidate–Kocharian said that it was illegal only according to Ashot Bleyan and the Azeris.
The candidate promised enormous changes–vowing to spare no efforts to serve the people.
Also attending the meeting was ARF Executive Council of Armenia representative Vahan Hovanessian. He commented on the shameful behavior of some presidential candidates–and praised Kocharian’s proper behavior. Hovanessian maintained that Kocharian is a man whose words match his actions–and that he is the only candidate capable of undoing the deeds of the Ter-Petrosyan administration.
Kocharian was scheduled to hold meetings in Armavir–Etchmiadzin–Artashat and Massis on Friday.