YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–On December 4–the 4th Congress of the Yerkrapah Union of Volunteers elected a 45-member board with Major-General Manvel Grigorian being elected as Chairman.
During an earlier session Minister for Coordination of Industrial Infrastructure Activities Vahan Shirkhanian– called for President Robert Kocharian’s resignation and new presidnetial elections.
Shirkhanian was also elected on the Yerkrapah board. He is joined by Republican Party Chairman Andranik Margarian–parliamentary members Ara Ketikian–Armen Mkhitarian–Myasnik Malkhasian–Ruben Gevorgian–Suren Khachatrian–Hakob Hakobian–Hovhannes Hovhannissian–Sasun Mikaelian–and Ghukas Ulikhanian–Yerevan Mayor Albert Bazeyan–Deputy Defense Minister Astvatsatur Petrossian–and generals Arkady Ter-Tadevossian–Manvel Grigorian and Seiran Sargssian.
In a speech following his election–Grigorian emphasized that Yerkrapah would always be next to the Republican Party through which it would unfold its political activities.
"Any encroachment on the state is an encroachment on Yerkrapah," said the general.
Yerkrapah Board member–Mayor of Yerevan Albert Bazeyan said at a press conference following Yerkrapah’s Congress–"opinions in Yerkrapah may vary; we consider ourselves to be a democratic organization–but on the whole at present there is some objective discontent with the president of the republic." He pointed out that Yerkrapah was ready to meet with the president of the republic to discuss these issues at any time suitable to the president.
According to Bazeyan–"the discontent voiced during the congress mainly concerned the economic sphere whose situation has failed to improve for so many years on end and in this aspect Yerkrapah expects the prime minister to introduce changes into the government composition.
Grigorian emphasized that in peaceful conditions the Republican Party will deal with the political questions raised by Yerkrapah–and "if–God forbid–there emerges a difficult situation in the country–then we will see to all matters." He expressed confidence that Yerkrapah will be "disciplined–moral–vigilant and united to uphold the honor of our great warlord."
The Chairman of the Republican Party–member of the Yerkrapah Board Andranik Margarian–for his part–underlined that "all questions raised during the Congress will be discussed at the next meeting of the Republican Council of the RPA." Commenting on the criticism directed at the president during the congress–Margarian said: "There are some key ideas–and if the president of the republic will support these ideas–then–naturally–Yerkrapah will support the president’s policy."
"Yerkrapah will be a public support of the Unity bloc," members of the Yerkrapah Board emphasized.
"The current conditions in Armenia imply the necessity of holding new presidential elections," Minister for Coordination of Industrial Infrastructure Activities Vahan Shirkhanian said addressing the 4th Congress of the Yerkrapah Union of Volunteers on December 4. Prime Minister Aram Sargsyan was among those who attended the Congress. The delegates met Shirkhanian’s remarks with stormy applause. In Shirkhanian’s outlook–a new presidential election will be "an absolutely justified step both politically and morally" and will promote Armenia’s advancement.
The same day–commenting on Shirkhanian’s speech–Presidential Spokesman Vahe Gabrielian stated: "It is normal for democratic states to have organizations express varied opinions during their congresses. It is another question whether these opinions agree with the collective opinion of the organization or not. As for Vahan Shirkhanian’s thoughts–the president is not at all interested in the opinion of officials who joined Yerkrapah after the war–who did not approach the front-line closer than 150 kilometers. The president is of the opinion that it is natural that a man who was so keen on becoming Armenia’s prime minister on the eve of October 27 would be willing to become the country’s president. Ethically–it is odd that a government member would express such a viewpoint–but one should not forget that he occupies this post only as a result of the compromise reached between the president and the prime minister."