By Ruzanna Khachatrian
More than three dozen non-governmental organizations engaged in a broad range of activities expressed their support for President Robert Kocharian’s reelection at a joint meeting in Yerevan on Wednesday.
A resolution unanimously adopted by their leaders says Kocharian should be elected for another five-year term in office because he is the “real guarantor of the country’s normal development.”
Most of the civic groups are the so-called “compatriots’ unions” representing natives of a particular region in Armenia or Armenian-populated areas abroad. One of them unites Armenians who come from Nagorno-Karabakh which was governed by Kocharian from 1992-97. The group’s leader, parliament deputy Hamlet Harutiunian, was affiliated until recently with the National Accord party led by Artashes Geghamian, one of Kocharian’s main challengers.
Two other NGOs bring together Armenian veterans of the 1992-1994 war in Karabakh and the 1979-1989 Soviet military campaign in Afghanistan.
Also among the participants of the pro-presidential gathering were organizations representing individuals with various physical disabilities, including the Union of the Blind. This fact, however, did not keep several speakers from making the figurative point that “only the blind can fail to see positive changes” brought about by Kocharian.
According to the Ministry of Justice, there were some 2,800 NGOs officially registered in Armenia as of last November. Only a fraction is believed to be active.