By Ruzanna Khachatrian
President Robert Kocharian is against the ‘all-proportional’ system of representation in parliament, his press secretary announced on Wednesday, disproving a series of recent newspaper reports claiming the opposite.
In a press briefing Viktor Soghomonian explained that the president is against reconsidering the agreement reached by the coalition forces regarding the distribution of proportional and majoritarian seats in the Armenian legislature – which is currently 90 to 41.
“It would be wrong to cut a deputy off his constituency at this stage of our democratic development,” Soghomonian said, advocating the preservation of 41 seats for deputies elected directly from single-mandate constituencies.
Kocharian’s press secretary was also asked to comment on a recent report published in the “Iravunk” weekly, which, citing its sources, suggested that Russian President Vladimir Putin had openly spoken against Armenia’s powerful defense minister Serzh Sarkisian as Kocharian’s successor.
“I haven’t discussed publications of that type with the president for a long time, because very often they are so absurd that even do not deserve discussing,” Soghomonian said.
He said the relations between Kocharian and Sarkisian were normal and that there was no conflict between Armenia’s ruling Republican Party and Prosperous Armenia, a newly established pro-government party led by tycoon Gagik Tsarukian.
Speaking of international relations, Soghomonian said that Armenia does not intend sending peacekeeping troops to Lebanon first because of peacekeepers’ unspecified mandate and secondly because of the large presence of ethnic Armenians in Lebanon. “We don’t want to create problems for the local Armenian community in the event of clashes.”
Soghomonian also didn’t rule out that President Kocharian may meet his Azeri counterpart Ilham Aliev by the end of the year. “Days ago, the foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan met to try to prepare a meeting for the presidents. This meeting may take place if the presidents have enough material to discuss.”