By Emil Danielyan
President Robert Kocharian expressed hope late Thursday that Armenians will hand political parties loyal to him a comfortable majority in the parliament that will be elected on Saturday.
Kocharian predicted that none of them will win an absolute majority of seats in the next National Assembly. He indicated his belief that that Prime Minister Serzh Sarkisian’s Republican Party (HHK) will win a plurality of votes in the elections.
“It is extremely important that the new parliament and the president be able to cooperate,” he told Armenia’s leading TV stations in an interview. “If there is a confrontation between these two state institutions, it is the people that will suffer.”
“It is unlikely that one political force will have an absolute majority and be able to single-handedly form a government,” Kocharian said. “We already have had a coalition government and there must be forces that are capable of cooperating with each other.”
“I believe it would be good if the Republican Party had a weighty presence in parliament. They have both the experience and ability to control the situation and would continue reforms with renewed vigor,” he added.
Kocharian expressed hope that two other major pro-presidential parties, Prosperous Armenia and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, will also have a “serious presence” in the 131-seat legislature. He was also hopeful that only the “constructive” segment of the Armenian opposition will win parliament seats, hitting out at more radical groups opposed to his rule.
Kocharian went on to insist that his administration has succeeded in creating a level playing field for all election contenders. He also said he and his administration will now bear little responsibility for the conduct of the vote itself, arguing that most members of various-level election commissions are appointed by the Armenian parties represented in the outgoing parliament.