Tuesday, 17 September

Edward Sharmazanov - Sunday's Election Shows HAK's Ratings are Slipping

Edward Sharmazanov, Press Secretary for the ruling Republican Party, stated at a press conference today, that the recent ruling of the RoA Constitutional Court regarding the Armenia-Turkey Protocols was to be expected, given that "Serzh Sargsyan had presented a similar legal evaluation months ago". Mr. Sharmazanov stated that he welcomed the Court’s ruling since it displays the goodwill of Armenia and proves that the country is ready and willing to meet its international obligations. He said that the ball is now in Turkey’s court and that it is time for Ankara to prove that it sincerely wishes to resolve all outstanding issues with its neighbours. He again stressed the importance of world public opinion on the matter and said that the party to the talks which seeks to postpone the normalization process will not be looked kindly upon by the international community. Mr. Sharmazanov urged Turkey not to delay any longer in ratifying the Protocols. Turning to domestic political matters, the Republican Party spokesperson said that he had no comments on Sunday’s parliamentary by-election in District 10 since no one from his party was in the race. "All I know is what I read in the papers. The election held no particular interest to our party," he claimed. "All I can add is that a 20% voter turnout in such a politically active district only goes to show that the HAK (Armenian National Congress) has lost support among the people. During their last rally, the HAK candidate was supported by the first president of Armenia. I’d argue that such a low turnout can only mean that HAK’s ratings have gone down," stated Mr. Sharmazanov. He then turned his attention to the recent Freedom House report claiming that little progress has been made in Armenia in terms of democratic development. Mr. Sharmazanov argued that such a reputable organization as Freedom House didn’t always offer objective evaluations. "Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that we don’t face problems regarding democratic development and freedom of speech. But I don’t agree that we haven’t made any progress along these lines. Wasn’t the general amnesty a sign of progress, or the legal reforms package? And what about the May municipal elections? The opposition and the authorities had equal access to the media," argued the ruling party spokesperson.

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