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Message of Armenian President Robert Kocharian To The People

Armenian President Robert Kocharian (ITAR-TASS) This is a translation of the text of the declaration of a state of emergency issued on March 1 by Armenian President Robert Kocharian:

Dear compatriots,

The self-nominated candidate Levon Ter-Petrosian who lost in the 2008 presidential election in the Republic of Armenia, and a group of adventure-seekers surrounding him, without acknowledging the reality of their defeat, took to illegal actions. Among them are the accumulation of weapons and ammunition and their transportation to public places where their presence may pose a serious danger to citizens’ lives and health, and holding public rallies and marches without keeping [authorities] aware.

Despite the fact that the recounts demanded by the candidates who participated in the 2008 presidential election did not reveal any serious violations, and that no complaint was lodged with the administrative courts of the Republic of Armenia, and that the examination of the complaint at the Constitutional Court is in process according to the order foreseen by the Electoral Code, Ter-Petrosian’s supporters continue to dispute the outcome of the election with illegal means.

A group of opposition representatives on March 1 committed disturbances in the center of Yerevan causing damage to state property and the property of citizens, as well as creating a direct threat to the security of citizens, which makes the situation uncontrollable. The target of these activities is the stability gained by the Republic of Armenia, and the consequence is the disruption of international prestige.

As the guarantor of the Constitution of the Republic of Armenia, I will not allow anyone to endanger the constitutional order of our state.

In order to prevent the immediate threat to the constitutional order in the Republic of Armenia and for the purpose of protecting the rights and legal interests of the population, I consulted with the Chairman of the National Assembly and the Prime Minister, after which I signed a decree guided by point 14 of Article 55 and point 6 of Article 117 of the Republic of Armenia Constitution, whereby a state of emergency is declared in the city of Yerevan from March 1, 2008, for a period of 20 days.

The following measures are foreseen by the state of emergency.

1) Ban on holding meetings, public rallies, demonstrations, marches, and other mass events.

2) Ban on strikes and measures to stop or otherwise suspend the activities of organizations.

3) If necessary, restriction by law-enforcement bodies of the movement of individuals, means of transportation, and implementation of inspection.

4) Publications of mass media concerning state and internal political issues can be implemented solely within the limits of the official information of state bodies.

5) Ban on leaflets and implementation of political propaganda by other means without permission of corresponding state bodies.

6) Temporary suspension of the activities of political parties and other nongovernmental organizations obstructing the removal of the circumstances serving as a basis for the declaration of the state of emergency.

7) Expulsion of individuals who break the regime of the state of emergency and not residing in a given territory at the expense of their means, and if they don’t have means – at the expense of the means of the Republic of Armenia state budget on the condition of the further return of the expenses made.

I urge all to show restraint and wisdom. Under this situation it is more than ever necessary to show consolidation, to implement the requirements of the law without deviation. I assure that the state of emergency will stop immediately after the circumstances serving as a basis for it are removed.