By Karine Kalantarian
A Yerevan court has until Tuesday evening to rule on whether opposition member Aram Karapetian is eligible to stand for president in next year’s election.
Last week, the Visa and Passport Department of the Armenian police denied the leader of the Nor Zhamanakner party evidence of his 10-year permanent residence in Armenia invoking data showing his absence from the republic in the period from 1997 to 2002.
Karapetian, who was allowed to participate in the presidential election in 2003 with evidence of his Armenia residence provided by the same police agency, filed a court action last week seeking to be reinstated in his right to contest the February 19 vote.
Appearing before court on Monday, Karapetian, who has extensive business connections in Moscow, Russia, submitted a number of petitions indicating the sources of proof that he has permanently resided in the republic in the past decade, including the Central Election Commission, the military enlistment office, the police of the Davidashen district of Yerevan where he claims to be registered, and others.
Hovannes Kocharian, representing the police department in court, asked for two days to be given to the respondent to study the materials related to the case.
But Karapetian, who filed his lawsuit on November 29, reminded the court that under the law such disputes need to be resolved within a five-day period the longest.
“Otherwise I will consider it a gross violation of law and a political order from the police,” Karapetian warned.
To save time, Karapetian agreed to withdraw five of his six petitions, and only asked the court to consider his registration for the 2003 presidential election as a precedent and order all necessary document proof from the archives. The judge scheduled the next hearing for Tuesday.
The police representative in court declined to talk to RFE/RL, saying he “has no powers” to give interviews to the media.
Meanwhile, Karapetian told reporters that legally his lawsuit cannot be rejected, but at the same time he expressed conviction that in the end the court will make a “political decision.”
“A political order will be accepted and corresponding political actions will be carried out,” Karapetian said. “No matter whether I am disqualified from the race or not, I am convinced the upcoming elections will provide the grounds for changing these authorities.”
All potential candidates seeking registration in Armenian presidential elections are required to produce evidence of 10-year citizenship and permanent residence in Armenia.
Potential candidates have until Thursday evening to submit nomination-related documents to the Central Election Commission for registration.