- Independent Journalism From Today's Armenia
 March 14, 2003 

"No Crisis": President says elections are "for the country, not for a report"

In his first public appearance following the publication of official results of elections President Robert Kocharyan said earlier this week that voting irregularities did not impact the election outcome.

"There is no political crisis in Armenia," he said. "We have a process related to elections."

During the meeting with journalists in his office on Wednesday, Kocharyan said the action of the Opposition was predictable and was rather aimed toward having an advantage during Parliamentary elections in May. Kocharyan said that his opponents produced propaganda to stir public grievance.

"These actions of the Opposition can be understood from a tactical viewpoint, but one should not endanger the image of his own country for personal purposes," he said.

The President said, however, he did not see the elections as ideal.

He said he asked the foreign observers about the standards by which they estimate the elections and if they took into consideration that Armenia is a new State. The answer, he said, was that elections are estimated according to the same international standards in all countries.

Kocharyan said he regretted the critical report from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, but said that observers cannot question the legitimacy of the elections.

"The international observers have been stricter than in 1998. The observers' expectations have been weightier than we expected," he said. "If we compare the elections to Great Britain or France they did not meet international standards.

"But we hold elections for the country not for a report. Of course we would have liked the elections to be estimated positively. (But) we are an independent state and our independence should be respected."

As for the difference of estimations between Commonwealth of Independent States and OSCE observers it should not be linked to the different geopolitical interests, the President said.

Speaking about the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict Kocharyan stated that the estimation of observers could not impact a Karabakh-Azerbaijan settlement.

"The position of Armenia in international negotiation would be the same clear and exact."

Kocharyan says his Government is in charge of that position at least during the following five years and assures that his administration is strong enough to stabilize any unrest created by the tense campaign and election aftermath.

"We have many things to do. I personally have a program, which I presented for public consideration," the President said. "Another (additional) 30-40,000 jobs should be created. It is important that no one prevents me from the implementation of that program."


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  Photo of the week
  Blooming Mad
Click on the photo above to enlarge

Blooming Mad

March 8 is always the Day of Women in Armenia. This year, however, it was the Day of Angry Women, as a few thousand took their bouquets into the streets to protest last week's Presidential runoff election.



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