President Serzh Sarkisian on Monday again pledged to spare no effort to make the upcoming parliamentary elections the most democratic in Armenia’s history, saying that the Armenian government needs to enjoy sufficient legitimacy.
Sarkisian stressed the importance of having election results widely recognize as credible as he campaigned for his Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) in the central Kotayk province. “I think all of us want to at last hold an election which the vast majority of our people would consider free, fair and transparent,” he said at a campaign rally in the local town of Yeghvard.
“We must at last be able to form a government that does not lack [popular] trust,” the HHK leader told voters in the nearby town of Nor Hachn. “And authorities elected in honest, fair and good elections can do a much better job. They would be able to carry out reforms in a much more confident manner.”
Sarkisian and other senior Armenian officials have repeatedly made such statements in recent months, earning praise from the United States and the European Union. However, the Armenian opposition questions their sincerity, pointing to the authorities’ refusal to take measures which opposition leaders say would preclude serious fraud in the May 6 elections. The Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK), a member of the HHK-led ruling coalition, has backed some of those measures.
Campaigning in a region regarded as BHK leader Gagik Tsarukian’s stronghold, Sarkisian urged voters to “think twice” before casting their ballots. “I’m not so naïve as to think that all of you will believe in what I’ve said,” he said. “But I will just call on you … to think serenely on May 5 and see who has promised what and who the promising person is.”
“And if you see that that person … doesn’t know what state authority is, thinks that the authority is something that must be enjoyed, thinks that if he is the country’s president then he must live like a king, then please think once again,” added the president. It was not clear if he referred to Tsarukian or opposition leaders.
Sarkisian also renewed his pledges to bolster the rule of law and achieve economic betterment in case of retaining the HHK control over the National Assembly. “I’m not saying that [unemployment will be eliminated] in one week, one month, one year or even in the next five years,” he said. “But you will see a substantial difference.”
“I am deeply convinced that one day we will have a very prosperous country, a country that will bring back people who have left Armenia,” he added.