By Anna SaghabalianArmenia’s leadership will succeed in enacting its package of draft amendments to the constitution, President Robert Kocharian’s national security adviser predicted on Wednesday.
“I can say for certain that we will get a ‘yes’ [vote],” Garnik Isagulian said, referring to the constitutional referendum slated for November 27. “We will get more votes than are required by the law.”
Under Armenian law, the amendments need to be backed by a majority of referendum participants who would make up at least one third of the country’s 2.4 million eligible voters. Many observers believe that winning sufficient popular support for the changes is an uphill task for the Kocharian administration. Opposition leaders claim that the authorities can not do that without rigging the November 27 vote.
But Isagulian appeared supremely confident of referendum success as he held a pre-referendum campaign meeting in the southern town of Masis. The meeting took place in the conference fall of the local municipality and was attended by about a hundred people, most of them government employees.
Isagulian did not explain reasons for his optimism. The former KGB operative who was a senior member of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) in the early 1990s has been one of the most active “yes” vote campaigners. He has toured various regions of Armenia together with several other pro-Kocharian politicians over the past few weeks.
But none of those politicians are top leaders of Dashnaktsutyun or the two other parties represented in Kocharian’s government. The coalition leaders have kept a rather low profile in the campaign so far.
The upcoming referendum will not be monitored by a large group of Western observers. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe has attributed its failure to deploy a monitoring mission to a lack of formal invitation from the Armenian government.
(Photolur photo: Garnik Isagulian.)