By Emil Danielyan
Levon Ter-Petrosian will hold this week a news conference for the first time in over a decade to discuss his participation in Armenia’s forthcoming presidential election, the former president’s campaign headquarters announced on Tuesday.
A written statement by it said the landmark event will take place on Friday and focus on Ter-Petrosian’s election manifesto which was made public on Monday.
Ter-Petrosian, never known for his openness to the media, had last held a press conference in September 1997 as part of his efforts to drum up public support for an internationally sponsored plan to end the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The public relations campaign proved fruitless as he was forced to resign by key members of his cabinet, notably then Prime Minister Robert Kocharian, less than five months later.
Barring sporadic and brief conversations with journalists, Ter-Petrosian has avoided contacts with the media since then. He also kept an extremely low profile, rarely making public appearances.
The ex-president, who will turn 63 on Wednesday, delivered his first public speech since losing power on September 21. The speech came as a prelude to the announcement of his decision to contest the election scheduled for February 19.
Ter-Petrosian refused to answer questions from journalists even as he held big rallies in Yerevan and addressed indoors gatherings of his loyalists. He likewise refused to be interviewed on the record during an October 16 visit to the Yerevan bureau of RFE/RL’s Armenian service.