President Serzh Sarkisian lashed out at his election challengers on Friday, accusing them of deceiving the electorate with populist promises and seeking to take Armenia backwards.
Sarkisian said they “have nothing to say and do” as he addressed thousands of people rallying at Yerevan’s largest concert hall in support of his reelection.
“With your votes, tell them that it’s impossible to fool you,” he told the crowd that included university students, local government employees, and senior members of the ruling Republican Party, among them several government ministers. The crowd greeted his speech with rapturous applause and chants.
“The programs of adventurists would not increase jobs and raise wages,” Sarkisian said. “Either you will choose a path that would push us several decades back or a path that is leading us forward,” he added.
Raffi Hovannisian, one of the main opposition candidates, was clearly a target of the verbal attacks. He has promised steep rises in salaries and overall public spending during the election campaign. Earlier this week, Hovannisian was lambasted by Sarkisian for portraying the Armenian presidential race as a battle between “good and evil.”
Sarkisian avoided attacking his election opponents on the campaign trail until this week. He even heaped praised on Hovannisian and two other presidential candidates, Hrant Bagratian and Paruyr Hayrikian, on February 5.