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10 July 2012

Robert Kocharyan

Robert Kocharyan (ArmenianՌոբերտ Սեդրակի Քոչարյանpronounced [ɾobɛɹtʼ sɛdɹɑkʼi kʰotʃʰɑɹjɑn]) (born August 31, 1954) was thesecond President of Armenia, serving from 1998 till 2008. He was previously President of Nagorno-Karabakh from 1994 to 1997 andPrime Minister of Armenia from 1997 to 1998.



Biography

Robert Kocharyan was born in StepanakertNagorno-Karabakh. He received his secondary education there and from 1972 to 1974 served in the Soviet Army. He and his wife, Bella Kocharyan, have three children: Sedrak, Gayane, and Levon, all of whom were born in Stepanakert.

[edit]Career timeline and events during his presidency

[edit]Presidency

After his predecessor Levon Ter-Petrossian was ousted as President, Kocharyan was elected Armenia's second President on March 30, 1998, defeating his main rival, Karen Demirchyan, in an early presidential election marred by irregularities and violations by both sides as reported by international electoral observers. Complaints included that Kocharyan had not been an Armenian citizen for ten years as required by the constitution.,[1] even though it would have been impossible for him to be a 10 year citizen of a republic that was less than 7 years old; however, the Armenian constitution recognized the Armenian SSR as it predecessor state.
During his presidency, several opposition leaders in the Armenian Parliament and the Prime Minister of Armenia were killed by gunmen in an episode known as the 1999 Armenian parliament shooting. And Kocharyan himself negotiated with the terrorists to release the MP hostages.

[edit]2003 election

The 2003 Armenian Presidential election on 19 February and 5 March 2003. No candidate received a majority in the first round of the election with the incumbent President Kocharyan winning slightly under 50% of the vote. Therefore a second round was held and Kocharyan defeated Stepan Demirchyan with official results showed him winning just over 67% of the vote.
In both rounds, electoral observers from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe reported significant amounts of electoral fraud by Demirchyan's supporters and numerous supporters of Demirchyan were arrested before the second round took place.[2] Demirchyan described the election as having been rigged and called on his supporters to rally against the results.[3] Tens of thousands of Armenians protested in the days after the election against the results and called on President Kocharyan to step down.[2] However Kocharyn was sworn in for a second term in early April and the constitutional court upheld the election, while recommending that a referendum be held within a year to confirm the election result.[4][5]

[edit]2008 election

A presidential election was held in Armenia on 19 February 2008. The incumbent President Kocharyan, who was ineligible for a third consecutive term,[6] backed the candidacy ofPrime Minister of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan.[7]
Following the election result, protests organized by supporters of unsuccessful candidate Levon Ter-Petrossian began in Yerevan's Freedom Square and accompanied by mass disorders. On March 1, the demonstrators were lawfully dispersed by police and military forces. 10 people was killed during skirmishes between police and aggressive crowd, and President Kocharyan declared a 20-day state of emergency.[8] This was followed by mass arrests and purges of prominent members of the opposition who made disorders and damaged life and property of citizens, as well as a de facto ban on any further anti-government protests. Kocharyan was recognized as successful president [9][10]

[edit]Foreign policy

President Vladimir Putin with Armenian President Robert Kocharyan
As President, Kocharyan continued to negotiate a peaceful resolution with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev on the status of Nagorno-Karabakh. Talks between Aliyev and Kocharyan were held in September 2004 in AstanaKazakhstan, on the sidelines of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) summit. Reportedly, one of the suggestions put forward was the withdrawal of Armenian forces from the Azeri territories adjacent to Nagorno-Karabakh, and holding referendums (plebiscites) in Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijan proper regarding the future status of the region. On February 10–11, 2006, Kocharyan and Aliyev met inRambouilletFrance to discuss the fundamental principles of a settlement to the conflict, including the withdrawal of troops, formation of international peace keeping troops, and the status of Nagorno-Karabakh.[11]
During the weeks and days before the talks in France, OSCE Minsk Group co-chairmen expressed cautious optimism that some form of an agreement was possible. French President Jacques Chirac met with both leaders separately and expressed hope that the talks would be fruitful. Contrary to the initial optimism, the Rambouillet talks did not produce any agreement, with key issues such as the status of Nagorno-Karabakh and whether Armenian troops would withdraw from Kalbajar still being contentious. The next session of the talks was held in March 2006 in Washington, D.C.[11] Russian President, Vladimir Putin applied pressure to both parties to settle the disputes.[12] Later in 2006 there was a meeting of the Armenian and Azerbaijani Presidents in Minsk on 28 November and ministerial meetings were held in Moscow. "These talks did not initiate any progress, but I hope that the time for a solution will come" said Peter Semneby, EU envoy for the South Caucasus.[13]
In September 2006, in his congratulatory message[14] on the occasion of 15th anniversary of Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, Kocharyan said "The Karabakhi people made their historic choice, defended their national interests in the war that was forced upon them. Today, they are building a free and independent state." The accompanying message said that the duty of the Republic of Armenia and all Armenians is to contribute to the strengthening and development of Nagorno-Karabakh, as well as to the international recognition of the republic's independence.[15]
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