Vote 2013: Ter-Petrosyan rules out presidential bid over his age

Ex-president and current leader of the opposition Armenian National Congress (ANC) Levon Ter-Petrosyan has bowed out of the unfolding presidential race, arguing that his age of 68 no longer made him fit to stand for president.

“Dozens of arguments are being put forward by those advocating and opposing my nomination, but the most important argument has been avoided. Can anyone who has respect for his people vie for a presidential post at the age of 68? Such things usually do not happen in developed democratic countries,” said Ter-Petrosyan in an interview with the opposition-leaning Chorrord Inknishkhanutyun daily published today.

The opposition leader said there could be exceptions to this, though, for example, when a country is facing external threats or has a “chaotic” condition inside, but he added that he did not regard the situation in Armenia to be such.

“In Armenia, there is neither a chaotic state nor lack of government. On the contrary, the problem is in the presence of too heavy government when everything is concentrated in the hands of a bunch of criminals who have usurped power,” said Ter-Petrosyan.

The opposition leader said there was another ‘technical’ reason that all but prevented him from running for the post, but did not disclose that, saying that in the “cynical” Armenian reality few would believe in such an explanation.

In the interview Ter-Petrosyan said that a person of his age could not possibly have the energy of a man aged 40-60, which he described as perhaps the optimal age for a person seeking to become president.

He did not mention whether he thus endorsed his longtime associate, former Prime Minister Hrant Bagratyan, 54, who announced his presidential bid on Monday.

The two other major presidential hopes, incumbent President Serzh Sargsyan and opposition Heritage Party leader Raffi Hovannisian are aged 58 and 53, respectively.