YEREVAN — President Serzh Sarkisian has been unanimously nominated as a candidate for reelection by his ruling Republican Party of Armenia that held its 14th convention in Yerevan on Saturday. Presidential elections of the Republic of Armenia will take place on February 18, 2013.
In his acceptance speech Sarkisian revealed his future election motto “Towards a Secure Armenia”. He said Armenia has changed “beyond recognition” during his nearly five-year tenure and expressed confidence about his reelection.
Sarkisian also pledged to carry out sweeping reforms that will strengthen the rule of law and bring prosperity to his country. “There is no doubt in my mind that we will win and will see the Armenia of our dreams – strong, prosperous, and secure,” he told hundreds of delegates, among them many senior government officials.
“Rest assured that for our compatriots, who had left Armenia only years ago, Armenia has changed beyond recognition,” declared Sarkisian. It is now a “much more comfortable and safe country” which is “incomparably more attractive for businesses.”
Sarkisian specifically defended his government’s handling of the 2009 economic crisis, which resulted in a sharp decline in Armenia’s Gross Domestic Product. He said the government has maintained financial stability, saved and created thousands of jobs, kept utility prices unchanged and invested heavily in public infrastructures. He also insisted that widespread corruption and other government abuses are being “step by step” eliminated.
Sarkisian’s political opponents have brushed aside these statements. They regularly accuse the Armenian authorities of mismanaging the economy, promoting corrupt practices, keeping the judicial system under government control and rigging elections.
Sarkisian insisted, however, that the conduct of democratic elections is his administration’s “first and foremost priority.” “We have received excellent reactions to our latest parliamentary elections,” he said.
Submissions of official nomination papers in Armenia’s presidential election will start on December 25 and end on January 4, after which the Central Election Commission will have another 10 days for the formal registration of candidates.