U.S.-Armenian rock singer Serj Tankian voiced his dissatisfaction on Wednesday with Serzh Sarkisian’s response to his serious election-related concerns, insisting that the newly reelected Armenian president “institute the rule of law once and for all.”
Tankian said Sarkisian did not answer any of his questions regarding alleged vote rigging in the February 18 presidential election which he raised in an open letter circulated on Tuesday.
“Citizens across Armenia are protesting the outcome of the elections and the injustice inherent in the political establishment. Please listen to their complaints,” the lead singer of the U.S. rock band System of a Down wrote in a second letter disseminated through the media.
“Listen to the striking students and don’t let the schools or police shut out their voices from our democracy. They are the future of Armenia after all. Corruption, injustice, emigration, lawlessness and falsified elections. These ills have emptied our country of its citizens more than mines and bombs.”
“What are you going to do about them? Are you going to reform the system?” asked Tankian.
In his first letter, Tankian called into question the legitimacy of Sarkisian’s reelection, saying that even the incumbent does not know if he actually won the ballot. He urged Sarkisian to initiate sweeping changes in the country that would genuinely address popular discontent with his rule.
Sarkisian insisted in his written reply that he is the rightful winner of the “best elections in the 21-year-long history of our country.” He also implied that attempts to undermine the credibility of official vote results could endanger national security.
“I think you have done a great job at securing Armenia’s borders and dealing with the extremely sensitive and difficult situation presented by the realities after the Karabakh war,” replied Tankian.
“That said, security cannot be the scapegoat to diffuse attention from the inequities and injustices in our homeland,” added the rock start revered by Armenians around the world.
“Republicans in the U.S. have done that for too many elections and no one seems to buy it anymore.”
Sarkisian’s press secretary, Armen Arzumanian, said later in the day that the president has read the second letter and “agrees with the vast majority of questions raised by Mr. Tankian.” “The president thinks that everything or almost everything was said in the pre-election period and that now is the time to act,” Arzumanian told News.am.