Jan 7 2008

Yerevan, 7 January: Former Armenian President Levon Ter-Petrosyan has
been the first presidential hopeful who has published his election
manifesto. In his manifesto, forwarded to the Interfax news agency on
Monday [7 January], while harshly criticizing the current authorities,
the contender promises to establish full democracy in the republic,
guarantees freedom of speech, independence of the judiciary and the
final introduction of a multi-party system.

Touching upon the settlement of the Nagornyy Karabakh conflict,
Ter-Petrosyan notes the necessity to look for mutual compromises with
the Azerbaijani side, while taking into consideration the right of
the Karabakh Armenians to self-determination.

The hopeful is confident that as a result of the implementation of his
programme, "more impressing results are expected in the settlement of
the Nagornyy Karabakh conflict, in the elimination of the blockade
[presumably, Armenia's blockade by Azerbaijan and Turkey] and the
opening of the Armenian-Turkish border".

Ter-Petrosyan says that the major challenges facing the current
Armenian authorities are the stimulation of the development of the
industrial sector and the qualitative improvement of the population's
living standards.

The provision of equal opportunities for businesses, guarantees of
free competition and protection of property could help achieve these
goals, Ter-Petrosyan believes.

In his election manifesto the former Armenian president says he
intends to ensure a 20-per-cent increase of salaries annually, a
30 to 40-per-cent of increase of pensions, implement large housing
projects at a state level in order to provide free of charge housing
to poor and young families.

According to the most modest calculations, the first president says,
the programme of Armenia's social-economic development for 2008-2012
envisages doubling GDP, increasing the state budget and average
monthly salary three-fold and increase average pensions four-fold.

Armenia is to hold a presidential election on 19 February 2008. The
registration of candidates will be held from 31 December 2007 till
20 January 2008.