KOTAYK, Armenia (Combined Sources)–"We are not a poor country, we’re just a country that developed incorrectly," Armenian Presidential Candidate Vahan Hovannesian told villagers in Proshian Wednesday along his campaign trail through Armenia’s Kotayk Province.
The village of Proshian is very important to the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, according to Hovannesian. Many sons from Proshian died fighting for justice during the Artsakh War of Liberation and it is the ARF’s responsibility to continue their struggle, he said.
But there is no justice in Armenia today, instead, injustice has become the norm in Armenia, Hovannesian exclaimed during his speech.
"You, people of Proshian, were among the first who realized that it takes patriots to liberate the homeland," Hovannesian exclaimed. "We did not have much hope then because the enemy had the advantage in weapons, in numbers, and in support."
"We used rifles against tanks and won. But where are we now?" He asked. "Let’s not blame all this injustice on the authorities only; we too are to blame because we did not realize that justice does not always come with independence."
According to Hovannesian the situation that exists in Armenia today is rooted in the past. The Social, economic, and political injustices that exist in Armenia today are not entirely to be blamed on the former and current regimes because Armenia’s as citizens have to take responsibility for the state of their country, he explained.
"I will return to you the freedom that has been lost, Hovannesian promised. "But it is up to you to take hold of it"
Hovannesian’s platform is the most realistic approach to dealing with all sectors of Armenian society, ARF Parliamentary Faction Member Ruzan Arakelian told the villagers at the rally. The coming five years are very important and the only person capable of leading the country with honor is Hovannesian, she said.
Throughout his campaign in Armenia’s rural provinces, Hovannesian has focused on the power of Armenia’s grassroots to bring about real changes. But he has also maintained that those changes will not come merely with the changing of the old guard. Systemic changes, Hovannesian maintains, are the only thing that will bring about true, positive and lasting change in Armenia. Hovannesian reiterated this point in Proshian.
"Do you want individuals to change or do you want the system to change?" he asked rally-goers. "The old authorities cannot carry out the necessary changes because they are the founders of this faulty system."
"Only I am able to really reform this system because I am not linked to military or criminal circles," he said. "I am accountable to the people, I made my commitmen’s and I am ready to carry them out."
In December, Hovannesian signed a social contract with the voters, which outlined his responsibilities and commitmen’s to the electorate if elected president. Over 220,000 voters throughout Armenia have signed Hovannesian’s Social Contract since December, reported Hovannesian’s campaign office Wednesday. Aside from outlying Hovannesian’s platform and commitmen’s to the people, the contract also serves as an agreement on the part of the voters to fulfill their duties as citizens of the Republic of Armenia.
Hovannesian’s campaign throughout the rural provinces, his social contract with the voters and the ARF’s early election primaries in November have been widely considered by many political analysts and reporters as a welcomed introduction of modern democratic practices in Armenia.
Reports from the Armenian Blogosphere are similarly applauding Hovannesian and the ARF for their voter oriented campaigning, is "bringing something refreshing to an otherwise tedious and almost antiquated election based on mutual insult and no real interest in the conduct or outcome of the vote on Election Day itself," according to Armenian Blogger Onik Krikorian.