Armenia’s new leaders announced yesterday that a presidential election is tentatively scheduled for March 16 in accordance with the constitution. Acting President Robert Kocharian pledged that the elections would be free and fair. Kocharian, who is widely expected to run, evidenced a reluctance to do so, not least because his citizenship qualifications are unclear. National Democratic Union leader Vazgen Manukian has declared his candidacy. He is considered the real winner of the September 1996 presidential election — which was rigged by the supporters of deposed president Levon Ter-Petrosian.
In a related development, Kocharian announced his support for the re-legalization of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation-Dashnaksutiun, traditionally the most influential Armenian party, suspended by Ter-Petrosian since December 1994. The acting president also made clear his intention to support the release of Dashnaks sentenced in recent political trials. (Noyan-Tapan, Snark, Azg, January 5)
Turkmenistan Now Firmly on the Side of International Law in Caspian Sea.