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Poll Shows Limits Of Popular Support For Armenian Leadership


By Liz Fuller in Prague

Between 13-15 November, the Armenian Sociological Association conducted an opinion poll among 1,000 randomly selected residents of four Armenian cities on behalf of RFE/RL's Armenian Service.

The poll results reflect widespread disenchantment with President Robert Kocharian and his policies, but at the same time indicate that if a presidential poll were to take place now, neither Kocharian nor any other politician could win in the first round.

Twenty-six percent of those questioned said they would vote for Kocharian; second in popularity was National Unity Party leader Artashes Geghamian (10.5 percent) followed by People's Party of Armenia chairman Stepan Demirchian and Orinats Yerkir Party chairman Artur Baghdasarian (4.2 percent each). By the same token, almost half of those questioned rated Kocharian's policies as either bad (19.3 percent) or very bad (28.2 percent), compared with 38.6 percent who rated those policies satisfactory.

Kocharian was ranked by only 24.5 percent of respondents as the most influential politician in Armenia, followed by Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian (13.9 percent); no other political figure was considered influential by more than 5 percent of the sample, and 31.2 percent did not rank any politician as "most influential."

Those findings are seemingly at odds, however, with the answers to the question: which of the politicians listed below has the best chance of becoming the next president of Armenia? Kocharian was named by 42.3 percent as the most likely victor, followed by Geghamian (9.3 percent) and Serzh Sarkisian and former Premier Aram Sarkisian (both 6.7 percent).

The poll results also show a lack of confidence in any political party: one third of those questioned said that either they would not participate in a parliamentary poll (13.2 percent) or that they would not vote for any of the eight parties listed (22.9 percent.) A further14.6 percent of the sample were undecided. The most popular political party was the Communist Party of Armenia (14.5 percent), followed by the People's Party of Armenia (7.8 percent) and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation--Dashnaktsutyun (7.1 percent). Observers in Yerevan have queried the high rating of the Communist Party, pointing out that only a few thousand mostly elderly people attended its most recent demonstration. Curiously, only 1.4 percent of respondents said they would vote for Communist Party leader Vladimir Darpinian in a presidential ballot.
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