By Armen Zakarian
An intensifying rivalry between the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) Karabakh structure and the local government adds to the growing fears that next week’s parliamentary vote in Karabakh may end in large-scale riggings.
Gegham Baghdasarian, of Karabakh’s “Movement 88” that forms an alliance with the local ARF structure in the campaign to win seats in Parliament, says that today’s political realities in this unrecognized state are different from what they used to be when vote riggings were “simply unnecessary”.
“Election outcomes have never been rigged in Karabakh, but it was not because our governors are angels, but simply because there was no need for that. Now that the political field looks differently the authorities will show their real face.”
Baghdasarian says the differences between the local ARF structure and the ruling elite began even before the ARF minister was sacked.
“We should also consider the circumstance that in the past five years the ARF faction in Karabakh’s Parliament several times voted against the submitted state budget,” Baghdasarian said.
Unlike its Karabakh structure the ARF in Armenia is part of the ruling coalition and backs President Robert Kocharian, who, in his turn, support the Karabakh leader, Arkady Ghukasian.
The ARF Executive Council of Armenia and the party’s Karabakh structure both were reluctant to comment on this situation in Karabakh before parliamentary elections scheduled for June 19.
RFE/RL’s repeated phone calls to the ARF offices in Stepanakert and Yerevan failed to reach officials authorized to talk on behalf of the party.
“They are not available. Call later,” was the only response to RFE/RL’s inquiries from the Stepanakert office.