By Ruzanna Khachatrian
President Robert Kocharian, making another case for his second term in office, argued on Friday that of all 11 candidates running for president he enjoys the broadest multi-partisan support.
“Today I am the joint candidate of 12 or 13 political parties,” he told supporters in Yerevan’s southern Erebuni district.
Kocharian said that by contrast, his political opponents have failed to unite and field a single presidential candidate despite their long-running pledges to do so. He again expressed hope to face only one single challenger in the first round of voting on February 19.
“I am impatiently waiting for a solution to the issue of a single candidate,” he told the rally. “I really want that issue to be solved.”
Kocharian had said earlier that a two-horse race would lessen the likelihood of a run-off vote which would prolong political tensions and uncertainty in Armenia. But he has indicated all along that he expects to win outright in the first round anyway.
Kocharian’s reelection bid has been endorsed by over a dozen pro-government parties whose leaders have been accompanying him on campaign trips across the country. The biggest of them are Prime Minister Andranik Markarian’s Republican Party (HHK), the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) and Orinats Yerkir. None of the other pro-Kocharian groups has a faction in the Armenian parliament.
At least five opposition candidates are seen as major contenders. Most of them are expected to stay in the race.