- Independent Journalism From Today's Armenia
 February 21, 2003 

Decision 2003: The son also rises

Throughout Armenia the name Demirchyan is well known. Most knowledge, however, is attached to memories of Karen Demirchyan, the former First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of (Soviet) Armenia.

But today the name is carried by the younger of two Demirchyan sons, Stepan, who, like Robert Kocharyan, stands 13 days and 50 percent of votes away from being Armenia's next President.

Stepan Demirchyan was born in 1959 in Yerevan. In 1981 he graduated from Yerevan Polytechnic Institute in engineering science.

He started his working career as a chief specialist in an electro-technical plant in Yerevan. Later he became deputy chief engineer of "Armenian Electric Motor" industrial association.

In 1986 Demirchyan was appointed to the position of chief director of Mars joint-stock company, a post he still holds. He is married and has three daughters.

Stepan Demirchyan grew up in politics, but it was not until 1999 that he became a politician.

In October of that year, Karen Demirchyan, who was Speaker of Parliament (after losing a bid for President in a run-off with Kocharyan in 1998) was one of eight leaders assassinated by terrorists during an attack on Parliament.

In 1999, prior to Parliamentary elections, Karen Demirchyan and Minister of Defense Vazgen Sargsyan united to create the Unity coalition, which took the majority of seats in the National Assembly and became a political strength.

Stepan Demirchyan says he had no political aspiration until the day his father was killed.

Since December 24, 1999 Demirchyan has been head of the People's Party of Armenia, a party started by his father.

During this election, the Armenian tradition of "matagh", in which a sheep is slaughtered as a sacrifice, became a tradition of the Demirchyan campaign in villages where the practice was also done for his father during his 1998 run for office.

Though Demirchyan received only 400,846 (28.3 percent) votes to Kocharyan's 707,155 (49.8 percent), his performance was enough to have seemingly solidified the Opposition. At a Thursday rally, he was joined by other Opposition candidates, including former Minister of Foreign Affairs Raffi Hovannisian.

"The more people are confident of authorities, the greater is the possibility of a country's development," says Demirchyan, promising people social equality, justice and a comfortable living.

Demirchyan's potential as a Presidential contender became visible through several mass gatherings throughout Armenia, culminating in the largest political rally of the campaign last Sunday in Yerevan.

Before a rally attended by some 10,000 in front of the Museum of Manuscripts on Thursday, Demirchyan declared himself the outright winner of Wednesday's election, vowing to punish those who had "stolen" the election from him.

"Our meetings in the regions and today's meeting give me the right to say that the change of power has been decided in people's hearts and thoughts," he said.


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Voting day turned from fair to foul at some precincts

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The son also rises

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Geghamyan Goes from Candidate to Kingmaker

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  Photos of the week
  Photo of the week: Talk Time
Click on the photo above to enlarge

Photo of the week: Talk Time
Click on the photo above to enlarge

Hope and Assurance

It has been a season of many emotions, Decision 2003. Doves of peace were offered and officers to enforce that peace were stationed around the Central Elections Commission.



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