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Senior U.S.-Armenian Figure Skeptical About Fair Election Pledge


Armenia -- Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) Chairman Ken Hachikian, undated.

Armenia -- Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) Chairman Ken Hachikian, undated.

A prominent American-Armenian public activist who heads the largest Armenian lobbying group in the United States has cast doubts over the assurances by the leadership in Yerevan about holding the fairest elections in the history of the former Soviet state.

Ken Hachikian, who has led the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) since 2000, was in Yerevan to attend a conference of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation’s Hay Dat committees and offices that opened on Friday.

In an interview with RFE/RL’s Armenian Service (Azatutyun.am) the same day Hachikian expressed a general concern about the fairness of the Armenian elections. “The past elections have not been fair, they have not been clean, and it is very important that these elections be clean,” he said. At the same time, he said that he took the assurances of the Armenian administration about ensuring the fairness of the May 6 general elections with “a great deal of skepticism”.

Still, the noted Armenian-American figure would not cast doubts over the prospect of the ARF entering the next Armenian parliament.

“We follow the domestic politics in Armenia with a great interest. I have every reason to believe that the Dashnak Party will pass the five-percent threshold,” Hachikian emphasized.

In the interview the ANCA chairman also addressed the latest efforts on the international affirmation of the Armenian Genocide.

“I believe the current process on the international recognition of the Armenian Genocide has picked up considerable momentum in recent years,” said Hachikian, referring to the law in France to criminalize the denial of the 1915 Armenian Genocide, as well as the passage in the U.S. House of Representatives of a bill on returning church properties to Christian minorities in Turkey.

“Even though the law in France has been stalled because of the constitutional court ruling, its passage in the French parliament gave considerable momentum and publicity to the issue of genocide recognition,” he emphasized.

Speaking about the prospect of the passage of a resolution to recognize the Armenian Genocide at the United States Congress, Hachikian said it was unlikely to happen during this term.

“I don’t believe there is going to be an opportune time to be able to pass the resolution today, in this session. However, I do think that we may have an opportunity to pass the reparations resolution on church properties in the United States Senate,” the ANCA chairman concluded.
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