the re-elected administration and its opposition
held press conferences today in reaction to yesterday's
Central Election Commission vote count that gave
Robert Kocharyan a second term as President of
Kocharyan forces were represented by Minister
of Defense Serge Sargsyan who has acted as the
President's campaign manager during both rounds
of the election.
Meeting at Kocharyan's main campaign headquarters,
Sargsyan would not give an opinion on a report
by the Organization for Security and Cooperation
in Europe calling the elections flawed, but told
journalist the report cited irregularities in
"only 13 percent" of polling stations.
(In fact the report states that "technical
procedures were correctly followed and assessed
the process positively in 87% of polling stations
Meanwhile across town at the National Press Center,
runner-up Stepan Demirchyan was still talking
about a "way to win".
"I know only one way to win," Demirchyan
said, "the way that is allowed by the Constitution.
We are not revolutionists, but men of principles
and are consistent."
Few in this city could call the Opposition inconsistent,
as again yesterday and today -- like almost every
day since February 20 - another mass rally was
Sargsyan and Demirchyan reacted to a report by
the Commonwealth of Indpendent States mission
leader Yuri Yurov, which called Wednesday's election
(as indeed it had on February 19) free and fair.
The Minister of Defense said the CIS report is
evidence that regional neighbors understand Armenians
better than the foreigners do.
"The CIS observers know much better our
mentality because we were born in the same Soviet
territory," Sargsyan said.
Some European observers were surprised when Kocharyan
collected 30 percent of votes at one polling station
and 80 percent on another polling station of the
Sargsyan explained: "For example if in the
area around one polling station live my relatives,
they vote for Kocharyan. Europeans do not understand
it because they have a different mentality and
Demirchyan took another view.
"Let the head of the CIS mission persuade
all that the elections were fair and transparent,"
Demirchyan said that as soon as the final results
are announced, he will appeal to the Constitutional
Meanwhile, his followers will make their appeal
in the streets.
"When the society is complaining, it means
that it is not dead," Demirchyan said. "The
people are aggrieved and we are going to continue
protecting our rights. And if we do not succeed
in achieving justice through the Constitutional
Court, the we will think of other ways."
Against what might be read as veiled threats,
Sargsyan talked about stability.
He said his side accepts the Opposition's demonstrations
"within the limits of law".
"If the situation became out of control
that would mean there is no regime in charge in
the country," he said.