YPC Weekly Newsletter

2008


PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES REFUSED TO TAKE PART IN “THE FACE OF THE COUNTRY” TV DEBATES

On February 8 on the evening air of “Yerkir Media” TV company another program
of “The Face of the Country” series was broadcast. The program is produced under
a project of Yerevan Press Club supported by the UN Development Program. Representatives
of all presidential candidates were invited to the first three programs of the
cycle. Yet in these programs representatives of only 7 candidates – out of nine
– took part. The headquarters of the candidate of the Republican Party of Armenia,
the RA Prime Minister Serge Sargsian never responded to the invitation, and
the team of the RA First President Levon Ter-Petrosian agreed to engage in a
discussion solely with the representative of Serge Sargsian (see YPC Weekly
Newsletter, January 18-24, 2008,
January 25-31, 2008 and
February 1-7, 2008).

At the second stage TV debates were planned between the contestants for the
presidential office themselves (three candidates of each program). These three
candidates were matched by computer selection. Yet these TV debates failed completely
because of the majority of candidates. Serge Sargsian did not respond to the
invitation this time, either. This automatically ruled out Levon Ter-Petrosian,
who agreed to face only the “power candidate”, and the candidate of “National
Unity” party Artashes Geghamian, who demanded to have the representatives of
“former or current” authorities as opponents. Then the candidate of the National
Democratic Union Vazgen Manukian thought his participation in the program in
the absence of Serge Sargsian ineffective. Hence, the two “trios” became “duos”:
the candidate of “Orinats Yerkir” party Artur Baghdasarian versus the candidate
of the Popular Party Tigran Karapetian, and the candidate of “Dashnaktsutiun”
party Vahan Hovhannesian versus self-nominated Arman Melikian. The candidate
of “National Accord” party Aram Harutiunian, having remained without an opponent,
for understandable reasons refused to take part in the program alone. At the
last moment Artur Baghdasarian gave up the debate, too, depriving his opponent,
Tirgan Karapetian, of a possibility to take part in the discussion. Under the
circumstances it was pointless to have debate of two candidates only, and Yerevan
Press Club had to reconsider the format of the program.

Thus, on February 8 in the fourth “The Face of the Country” program an expert
discussion of the election platforms of presidential candidates was made. The
guests of the program host, the President of Yerevan Press Club Boris Navasardian,
were the head of Transparency International Armenia Amalia Kostanian, the Chairman
of the Helsinki Committee of Armenia Avetik Ishkhanian and the expert of the
International Center of Human Development Ashot Khurshudian. The discussion
focused on the clauses of pre-election platforms, dealing, in particular, anti-corruption
steps, social economic and environmental issues, human rights, the legal and
judicial reform.

The representatives of election headquarters of all nine presidential candidates
are invited to take part in the remaining two programs of the cycle.