President Serzh Sarkisian urged supporters on Wednesday not to be complacent about his reelection, warning of a serious threat which he said is posed by “those who are used to buying everything they want to have.”
Sarkisian sought to dispel a widely held belief that his victory in next Monday’s presidential election is a forgone conclusion as he campaigned in Armenia’s Gegharunik province.
Addressing several hundred people at an indoor meeting in the town of Martuni, he warned that if they do not turn out in large numbers on election day “other voices will definitely make up for your silence.”
“The voices of those who for years did everything to turn Armenia into a dirty swamp, to keep everything unchanged under this sky for the sake of their parochial and personal interests,” he said. “The voices of those who for years disregarded your voice, stole your future and did everything to ensure that others, rather than you, make a choice, and that the elected leader is not yours.”
“Those who are used to buying everything they want to have. Those who are ready to wrest what they can’t buy,” he added without elaborating.
The remarks are bound to spark intense media speculation about who Sarkisian referred to. None of the opposition candidates challenging him is wealthy or wielded much power in the past. Some commentators might point the finger at Sarkisian’s predecessor and former ally Robert Kocharian or another ex-president, Levon Ter-Petrosian.
Kocharian was accused by his political opponents of amassing huge personal wealth during his decade-long presidency. He is believed to have close ties with Gagik Tsarukian, one of Armenia’s richest men leading a major political party. Tsarukian was expected to mount a serious challenge against Sarkisian but unexpectedly dropped out of the race in December.
“If you think that I haven’t done a very bad job please vote for me,” Sarkisian said in another Gegharkunik town, Vartenis. “If you think that I have worked very badly try to elect someone else and maybe you will be better off. But, dear people of Vartenis, I am confident that despite having numerous problems you do see that something changes day by day.”