Marat Terterov: Armenia’s long term security will be better served by strengthening economic security, rather than defining national security on the basis of the Tsarist Russian catch-cry “armiya i flot”
"I don't agree with those who say that there are no strong competitors or people who could poll a significant number of votes," President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan said in an interview with RFE/RL's Armenian Service ahead of the presidential election of Feb 18.
"And who has said that Raffi Hovannisian, Hrant Bagratian, or Paruyr Hayrikian, who have merits and a track record, are easier competitors or have less experience of debate or public speaking? In general, I strongly believe that presidential elections are not restricted to just voting. Presidential elections start from elections to local government bodies, where a corresponding political party gets represented in local government bodies and then continue in
parliamentary elections and finally end in presidential elections proper," he said.
"I am inclined to believe that it is not the government's problem to nurture a competitor. I think that the task of the government is to provide a competitive environment, although this is not the responsibility of the government alone. But what should we have said? Were we supposed to go to Europe or the United States and bring one of our compatriots, force him, or were we supposed to raise someone here?" the president asked.
The presidential candidates are as follows: incumbent president Serzh Sargsyan from the Republican Party and former prime minister Hrant Bagratyan from the Liberty Party. All the remaining are self- nominated candidates: Leader of the Union for National Self-Determination Party Paruyr Hayrikyan, Leader of Heritage Party Raffi Hovannisian, Advisor for Political Issues of the Refugees and the International Law Civil Society Network, ex-foreign minister of NKR Arman Melikyan, Leader of National Accord Party Aram Haroutiunyan, political expert Andrias Ghukasyan, and specialist in
epic Vardan Sedrakyan. The elections will be held on Feb 18 2013.
There is opinion in the opposition circles that the upcoming election is not competitive as Prosperous Armenia Party Leader Gagik Tsarukyan and first president Levon Ter-Petrosyan refuse to run for president.