Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian on Wednesday predicted that the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) will win the upcoming parliamentary elections and downplayed violence that has already marred the election campaign.
“We intend to win these elections and we can see that the people support us,” Sarkisian told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am), echoing similar statements by other senior HHK figures.
“We are obliged to stick to our firm, steadfast and reserved stance until the end of the elections and that’s what we are going to do,” he said, speaking in the northern city of Vanadzor. “We will be very patient and will not succumb to provocations. No cynical statement, no insult will make us lose our nerve.”
HHK-backed candidates have already faced media allegations of beating up an independent candidate and forcing him to leave the race and attacking opposition activists in Yerevan’s western Malatia-Sebastia district. They have denied any wrongdoing.
Sarkisian, whose name is third on the HHK’s list of election candidates, implied that opposition forces are also responsible for such incidents. “We will do everything to make sure that the number of incidents is very small,” he said. “Of course, it is desirable to rule out such incidents altogether. But that is sometimes impossible to do because our partners should help us and avoid doing provocations.”
The prime minister also insisted that “much more equal conditions” have been put in place for all election contenders this time around. “The authorities are now much better prepared for elections than they were in the past,” he said. “That is why there are much fewer incidents.”
President Serzh Sarkisian, the HHK’s top leader, also expressed his satisfaction with the course of the parliamentary race as he took the ruling party’s campaign to southwestern Vayots Dzor region on Wednesday. He said the May 6 elections must not be “a matter life or death” for anyone.
“Dear compatriots, I’m also sure that you realize that we need to organize elections that will in no way contribute to the development of divisions … and an atmosphere of hostility within our society,” Sarkisian told a campaign rally in the regional town of Vayk.
“Vote for those who bring you answers,” he said, appealing to local residents. “Trust us and our answers will not be long in coming.”