ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL: RULING PARTY BELIEVES IN "CHANGE", MAIN OPPOSITION BLOC ALREADY SEES "CHANGE" IN COALITION RIFT
By Gayane Lazarian

ArmeniaNow
13.04.12 | 13:26

On Day 5 of the four-week parliamentary election campaign on Thursday
representatives of the political forces participating in the May 6 vote
continued to actively present their programs and criticize opponents.

The chairman of the ruling Republican Party, President Serzh Sargsyan,
met with residents of Yerevan's southwestern Malatia-Sebastia
community to promise action to deal with social polarization and
"causes" of this injustice.

Enlarge Photo

Enlarge Photo "I believe in it, and I am here today to share this
belief with you.

It is impossible to live well without having a law-abiding state,"
Sargsyan said.

The incumbent president also stressed that one of the focuses of his
government's economic policies will be the stimulation of small and
medium-sized enterprise.

"We will provide guarantees so that you set up your own businesses. A
new economic concept has already been adopted, tax administration will
be simplified and the tax burden will be shifted onto large taxpayers.

No anti-competitive practice will remain unpunished," stressed
Sargsyan, also calling on the community's residents to vote for Samvel
Alexanyan, an affluent entrepreneur seeking reelection in the local
single-mandate constituency.

Opposition Heritage party leader Raffi Hovannisian and his team
went to the Kotayk province where in the town of Hrazdan, about
45 kilometers to the northeast of capital Yerevan, he urged local
residents to believe only in themselves.

"And if anyone now expects free and fair elections, from this very
moment from Hrazdan to Yerevan, from north to south, they must
stop that enlistment, that false benevolence with which they want
to subjugate our ordinary citizens," said Hovannsian, stressing that
what the government today presents as assistance to people is actually
its duty.

The Heritage leader said Armenia needed change and needed it now.

Meanwhile, changes are already noticeable for opposition Armenian
National Congress (ANC) leader Levon Ter-Petrosyan. He spoke about
that in the town of Yeghvard, which is some 20 kilometers from Yerevan,
noting that while until recently the ruling coalition was "one united
fist", then today it has a rift in it. Ter-Petrosyan said that the
Prosperous Armenia Party (PAP) has ceased to be President Sargsyan's
"adjunct", which, according to him, will play a major role in the
formation of the future parliament.

"The Prosperous Armenia Party is trying to be independent in its
actions and has made some serious steps in this direction," emphasized
Ter-Petrosyan, mentioning among such steps the PAP's joining the
recent push of the broad-based opposition for an all-proportional
system of parliamentary representation and the latest initiative on
establishing a common vote monitoring body.

According to the opposition leader, the split in the coalition will
make it possible to turn the National Assembly into a political body
and a counterbalance to the executive power.

"We want to turn the parliament into a political body. We would agree
to the country's being governed by Dashnaktsutyun, the Communists,
which are political parties, but not by thugs and bandits, which the
Republican Party is," said Ter-Petrosyan.

In another town of the Kotayk province, Abovyan, the ANC presented to
citizens the four principles of its current election struggle: "Active
involvement in election monitoring and ensuring the lawfulness of the
elections; having the two main pillars of the Sargsyan government,
the Republican Party of Armenia and its appendix, Orinats Yerkir,
as the main targets of criticism; not campaigning against political
forces and in the event of competing against candidates of political
forces in the same constituencies being guided by the principle of
mutual respect."