YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–A serious political and ideological rift in Armenia leading to utter chaos may be eminent if the situation in the country continues down its current path–said presidential candidate David Shahnazarian at a press conference Thursday in Yerevan.
According to Shahnazarian–the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic cannot be considered a part of Azerbaijan or Armenia–but an independent country recognized internationally as per its Declaration of Independence drafted in 1991.
Shahnazarian also added that if current Acting President and Prime Minister–Robert Kocharian–is officially elected President March 16–the country will return to its pre-1989 Soviet structure–recognized internationally only as a territory encompassing Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh spread out over many miles–and ruled by chaos.
"The chaos eminent is being created on purpose. A strong personality in office is desired–and this may lead to a dictatorship state. After all–developed countries and civilized nations do not elect leaders."
Kocharian’s camp was quick to rebuff Shahnazarian’s statemen’s Thursday–calling them "unfair" and "unfounded" and reassuring the Armenian people that a vote for Kocharian in a free and fair election would be a vote for the future well-being of Armenia.
Commenting at a hastily-called press conference intending to rebut Shahnazarian’s statemen’s–Kocharian press secretary Aghvan Vardanian said speculation over mass chaos ruling Armenia following a Kocharian victory was groundless–and said support for his candidate was at its highest since Kocharian’s decision to run for office.
At the heart of Shahnazarian’s commen’s was Baku and Ankara–and his claim neither have issued statemen’s on the subject because the situation plays directly into both countries’ hands–and into other nations who have only an oil interest in the region–such as Russia.
Shahnazarian refused to speak about his election platform–but did briefly outlined his stance on Armenia’s foreign policy–stressing the need to maintain strategic relations with Russia.
"If earlier Armenia was just a small brother for Russia–now these countries are partners," Shahnazarian said. "At the same time Armenia must work seriously on entering European and western structures."
Support for Kocharian came swiftly and from all corners of Armenia following Shahnazarian’s commen’s Thursday–led by Hayk Babukhanian–deputy chairman of the Constitutional Right Union–who said Kocharian was a citizen of Armenia following a 1989 decision of the Supreme Council of the Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic–and that his registration as a candidate would not entail any chaos of law.
Babukhanian dismissed Shahnazarian’s statemen’s on possible chaos ruling in Armenia as nothing more than pre-election scare tactics. According to him–all candidates should introduce their approach to settlement of the Karabakh issue–as only candidate Hrant Khachatrian has offered up his view of the situation–coming out in favor of an Armenia-Karabakh reunification.
As for statemen’s to the effect that by restoring the Dec. 1–1989 decision–Armenia is violating Karabakh’s right to self-determination–Babukhanian said it was mentioned in Karabakh’s Declaration of Independence that the independence referendum does not deny any previous decision that may have be reached.
Aram Sargssian–Chairman of the Democratic Party of Armenia–also voiced support for Kocharian Thursday–saying there was no danger of chaos of law as a result of Kocharian’s decision to run for President. Sargssian also noted that a number of decisions reached recently in Karabakh came about because of Karabakh’s uncertainty regarding whether Armenia’s former leadership would stand up for its interests.
Nerses Zeynalvandian–secretary of the Self-Determination Union’s parliamentary group–noted he personally understood why some people might be afraid of Kocharian’s candidacy for President–but said he also did not see danger of judicial chaos in the Republic.
Andranik Hovakimian–Deputy Chairman of the Armenian National Movement Board–also spoke at Thursday’s press conference–stating Kocharian’s registration would not create any chaos–and that if anyone considered his inclusion in the election to be a constitutional breach–that individual should apply to the Constitutional Court and solve the problem there.