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
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
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.
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
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
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.