2009-05-01 18:11:00

ArmInfo. If Serzh Sargsyan is really concerned about the reputation
of his country, he must conduct legitimate elections, which will
earn both the international observers' and our society's praise,
the first president of Armenia, the leader of the Armenian National
Congress Levon Ter-Petrosyan said during an opposition rally today
referring to the forthcoming election of Yerevan's mayor.

The press service of the Armenian National Congress quotes
Ter-Petrosyan as saying: "When the Armenian National Congress announced
that it is going to participate in the elections of Erevan's mayor
under my leadership, the first reaction from the governing camp was
that the Congress is politicizing the elections, implying that a
crime is being committed that has no parallels in world history. The
politicization of any question is equivalent to a plague for people
who react in that manner and something people should escape in a mad
rush. First, by doing this the forces that comprise the coalition are
putting themselves in a ridiculous situation, because they themselves
have politicized it to the extreme by adopting a 100% proportional
system for the elections of the mayo r of Erevan. Second, with such
a reaction they are giving away their criminal nature, because the
alternative to politicization is nothing other than criminalization.

It is high time to realize that they are no issues in a state that
are apolitical, because the essence of a state is politics. If it
was not so, what would the meaning of concepts like economic policy,
social policy, agrarian policy, educational policy, cultural policy,
health care policy, and other similar concepts be? Even the concepts
"state" and "politics" have common origins, if we take into account
the fact that the world "politics" has originated from the Greek word
"polis" (city- state). This was understood even in the middle ages,
which is evidenced by the fact that the 13th century Armenian thinker
Hovannes Yerznkatsi uses the word "city" to mean state.

In addition to accusing the Congress of politicizing the elections, the
official propaganda is trying to put the Congress in an uncomfortable
position with another ridiculous trick, namely by endowing the mayor
only with the lowly authority of garbage collector as it understands
the position. First, who said that collecting garbage is not an
important job?

And secondly, if garbage collecting is the mayor's only job, why is
only a single line dedicated to it in the 60-page long law on Yerevan,
whereas the rest is dedicated to politics? If after this explanation
opinions are voiced again that the Congress is politicizing the
elections, the Congress should only be thanked for it, because by
doing so it is trying to prevent the criminalization of the elections.

Today I have no intention of engaging in election campaigning. That we
will do during our upcoming rallies. But I cannot fail to draw your
attention to one last very important question having to do with the
elections. What would have happened if the Armenian National Congress
were to decide not to participate in the elections? Undoubtedly, the
same thing would happen as did during the parliamentary elections of
2007. The appearance would have been that of a free and fair election,
the representative of the authorities would win convincingly, and the
international observers would assess the elections as yet another
significant step on the path of democratizing the country. Serge
Sargsyan would turn the result of that election into a banner,
would be able to legitimize the rigged presidential elections of
2008 to some degree, and would earn enormous credit in the eyes of
the international community.

If Sargsyan is really concerned about the reputation of his country,
he has the opportunity to achieve that goal even today. He can conduct
legitimate elections, which will earn both the international observers'
and our society's praise. He should realize finally that not just
the authorities', but even the opposition's victory in legitimate
elections strengthens the state a nd shields it from international
pressures. Otherwise, he will never earn the right to be called a
statesman. But if acting narrow-mindedly, Sargsyan does the same
thing as he did during the presidential elections, not refraining
not only from blatant falsification, but also from using violence,
he will inflict another heavy blow on our state, which may be unable
to recover from it this time. Making sure that the mayor's elections
are conducted properly is Serge Sargsyan's last chance to earn some
credibility in the eyes of the Armenian society and the international
community. He can fail to exploit that opportunity only at the expense
of the Armenian state's interests.

Thus beginning tomorrow we are entering a new phase in the campaign,
which is significantly different from the presidential campaign in
one essential feature - the unity of the opposition - and which is
going to reduce greatly the authorities' opportunity to falsify the
results of these elections. We regret that the effort to participate
in the elections with a joint list of the Armenian National Congress
and the Heritage Party did not succeed. We appreciate at the same
time the decision of the Heritage Party not to participate with a
separate list in order not to split the oppositional vote. We are
also convinced that the Heritage Party will do everything to support
the opposition in the upcoming elections."