Vote 2012: Let there be debate

Vote 2012: Let there be debate


While the oppositionist candidate running for a single-mandate seat in the parliament persistently keeps inviting his opponent ruling Republican Party candidate, businessman Samvel Alexanyan to debate, another Republican candidate has received a similar invitation.

Businessman, president of Armenia’s Football Federation, MP Ruben Hayrapetyan, running from the electoral district #1, declared during his Thursday meeting with the press that instead of Armenian National Congress (ANC) candidate Gayane Arustamyan (who had earlier challenged him to go for a dispute against her), he is ready to hold a debate against the top ten candidates on ANC’s proportionate list. Hayrapetyan said he’d feel bad to win against a woman, neither does he want to debate against ANC’s candidate Aram Sargsyan holding the third position on the list, since they are friends.

Editor of oppositional Haykakan Zhamanak newspaper Nikol Pashinyan was quick to respond to this invitation by setting a date and time for a meeting with Hayrapetyan on his personal blog.

“With a reminder that chief of ArmNews TV company Artak Alexanyan has promised to arrange such a debate given the agreement of both sides, I am urging to do so on April 16, Monday, at 10 p.m. On that day and time I will be at ArmNews TV company. I will respond to Ruben Hayraperyan’s statements made at today’s press conference, during live broadcast, in the presence of the author himself. By this I am reaffirming my debate invitation to parliamentary candidate Samvel Alexanyan (aka Lfik Samo) running from electoral district # 7, but if old buddies Hayrapetyan and Alexanyan decide to show up to Monday’s broadcast together, I don’t mind,” Pashinyan said.

He had earlier repeatedly invited the wealthy businessman (who claims that his wife is the one running all his businesses, since RA Constitution forbids MPs to do business) to a debate, however, Alexanyan refused saying he does not see Pashinyan as his main opponent.

During the press conference Hayrapetyan made another interesting statement. Prior to the candidate nomination period he said he did not want to be in the parliament any more, that he was tired, and besides, it was difficult for him to attend the parliament sessions because of his full schedule. Nonetheless, he was later nominated, one could say, against his will. The Republican Party explained it by saying that at election district #1 Hayrapetyan had the best chances to win.

Hayrapetyan, in turn, stated that he agreed to be nominated because of ANC leader Levon Ter-Petrosyan.

“Back then I learnt that Levon Ter-Petrosyan would be running from the same district (#1). I put forward my candidacy to show the voters Ter-Petrosyan’s true face, but he got scared and did not nominate himself,” he said.

It is also noteworthy that Hayrapetyan has transferred 50,000 drams (around $130) to Samvel Alexayan’s bank account; Alexanyan has created that account to prove that he has no money and is asking for donations for his campaign.