Elections in 2008 “will be free and fair, like the previous ones”

Having officially announced, that the date for the 2008 Presidential elections has been set to 19 February, 2008, CEC chairman Garegin Azaryan has told the journalists that the presidential elections in 2008 “will be free and fair, like the previous ones”. Here are some important dates and deadlines to keep in mind:

The Central Electoral Commission has ratified the agenda for the presidential elections in 2008.
It has been confirmed that TV and radio companies should publish their airtime price list by November 19.
Based on the ratified agenda, CEC will accept the documents on the nomination of presidential candidates from November 21 to December 6, 2007.
Presidential candidates can be registered from December 31, 2007 to January 20, 2008.
Publication of poll results will be prohibited from 20:00, February 12, 2008.
The campaigns for presidential elections shall be conducted from January 21 to February 17.
The election date is February 19.
EC will summarize the preliminary results of presidential elections on February 20, at 20:00. The final results will be published on February 26.

Well it’s all clear and everything, but I’m somewhat concerned about that phrase: “like the previous ones”. While I acknowledge, that the 2007 Parliamentary elections were “free and fair” in relative terms, I can’t see what other “free and fair” elections the CEC chairman means looking back at the 15+ years of independent Armenia’s history? And considering all the economic pressures in the shape of tax inspections against LTP supporter MP Khachatur Sukiasyan and Gala TV which is simply trying to carry out independent editorial policy, I don’t see how will the upcoming Presidential elections come even close to being free and fair?

Artur Papyan

Journalist, blogger, digital security and media consultant


  1. Well, I agree with your point about Azaryan’s comment, but I can’t feel too sorry about Grzo (Khachatur Sukiasian) who until recently was as much of a government-linked bogeyman as Tsarukian and all the rest of them. Here’s a report from 2003, for example:

    […] the content of the income declarations led many local observers to dismiss the whole undertaking as a farce. Kocharian claimed to live on about $500 a month, less than the declared monthly income of his 21-year-old son. […]
    Even wealthy businessmen holding seats in Parliament posted modest revenues. For example, Khachatur Sukiasian, one of Armenia’s richest men, claimed to have earned only about $40,000 in 2001. Sukiasian, who has a collection of luxury limousines, also claimed to own no cars at all.

    Well, I suppose the point is that while Grzo made his money through connections with Ter Petrosian and kept it under Kocharian until he fell foul of the latter, he should be investigated, but so to should the rest of them. It shouldn’t be based on political affiliation, but as almost every one with money has something to hide, it’s only natural that the authorities remind them of that fact.
    Funny to hear talk of corruption and businessmen like Grzo being somehow clean. When I moved here in 1998 there was no Dodi Gago. There was Grzo and others, but it was his name that was mentioned the most.

  2. […] that Ter Petrosian is now seen as the main opponent in next February’s vote. The blog also sounds a note of alarm now that the Chairperson of the Central Elections Commission, Garegin Azaryan, has said that the […]

  3. […] multi-millionaire businessman Khatchatur Sukiasian, also known as Grzo, was subject to tax inspections due to his support for the former president. Ironically, it has been frequently alleged that Sukiasian has evaded taxes during his time at the […]

  4. All of our country is now frightened, becouse the Khocharian is a number 1 terrorist in the world for Armenians. I hope, there will be a day, when every armenian could say, how and why they were frightened. And I hope , Khocharian will be arested, and rest of his life he will be a prisioner for a things, he did against all armenian nation. The main is , what no law is now working in Armenia, he is calling, and law stopping on that moment. Hope I’ll see that day, and Hope, spetially for him the law of armenia will be changed, and for Khocharyan they will make a desision to kill him in the center of Armenia, to all of armenians to see, what the SECOND HITLER is killed, and now all of coutry can fill free and safe.
    And about the results of polls. By real Serg Sarkisyan is having less, then 5%, The real amount of votes have only Levon Ter-Petrosyan, Arthur Bagdasaryan and Dashnakcutyun. Etherything else is a simle lie and simple combination of Khocharians will and khocharyans force.
    This is my opinion, constructed from facts.

  5. Hmmm, Frightened Armenians, you neglect to declare the source of any of those “facts.” Regardless, let’s not be so naive. Just as Ter Petrosian and others survived their fall from power in 1998, so too will Kocharian even in the event of a “colored revolution.”
    Simply put, the whole system in place in the 90s and since is rotten, and almost everyone has a lot to answer for. However, in order to facilitate the handover of power even in a revolutionary type of environment such as in Georgia in 2003, deals will be made.
    I suspect deals were made in 1998 too, when Levon stepped away from power and was not touched or investigated for any misdealings or wrong doings during his tenure as president. Indeed, I suspect that’s why he is only appearing now as Kocharian is about to leave office too.
    Otherwise, what are we to believe? That Ter Petrosian has been sitting in solitude for nearly 10 years lamenting the situation in Armenia, but it has only been in the past three months that he has decided to do something for his country? Anyway.

  6. The style of writing is very familiar to me. Have you written guest posts for other bloggers?

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