on the silk road

ARF to Hold Nationwide Plebiscite on its Election Candidate
November 21, 2007, 7:15 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–The Armenian Revolutionary Federation will hold a non-binding nationwide plebiscite to ascertain the popularity of its two potential presidential candidates, Spartak Seyranian, a senior party spokesman, told RFE/RL on Wednesday.

      Seyranian said voters across Armenia will be offered the chance to go to the polls from next Saturday through Wednesday to choose between Armen Rustamian and Vahan Hovannisian, two of the top ARF leaders.

      The two men, who hold senior positions in parliament, were shortlisted as potential presidential candidates during a party congress last September. The ARF is scheduled to hold another congress on November 30 to nominate one of them to be the party’s candidate for the Armenian presidency.

      “Naturally, [the plebiscite] will have no legal force,” he said. “But it will be important for the party to present its candidates and to ascertain the public’s attitude to towards them.”

      According to Seyranian, polling stations for the consultative vote will be located in special tents to be pitched in Yerevan and other parts of the country. There will be at least ten such tents in the Armenian capital, he said.

      The ARF did not endorse Prime Minister Serzh Sarkisian and decided to contest the February 19 elections with its own candidate despite being a member of the ruling three-party coalition. The nationalist party is increasingly distancing itself from Sarkisian’s cabinet, which it has three ministers serving.

      Seyranian dismissed speculation that ARF may still endorse Sarkisian if the presidential ballot requires a second round of voting. He said a run-off vote would most probably pit Sarkisian against the ARF candidate.

      “I strongly believe that Armenia’s political system is not bipolar. I think the public is sick and tired of seeing things painted only in black and white colors,” he said, referring to bitter recriminations traded by Armenia’s current and former leaders.

      Seyranian insisted that former President Levon Ter-Petrosian will not be Sarkisian’s main challenger.



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