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Karabakh hero, Lieutenant General Vitaly Balasanyan had an interview with Armenian News - NEWS.am and spoke about the elections held, the post-election situation and the upcoming processes.

National elections in Karabakh ended. How do you assess it? There is an opinion that the election of Arayik Harutyunyan as president and the results of the parliamentary elections are illegitimate. While others think that that was a perfect and competitive election and Harutyunyan has high legitimacy and received a higher percentage of trust (88%) than even PM Nikol Pashinyan during the revolutionary euphoria.

These are two very different assessments, and I will refrain from them. We do not need any shock or stagnation. As for legitimacy, it is determined not only by the rate declared by the CEC but also by the results of the work. Everything is very conditional.

Did your expectations regarding the election come true?

Of course not, but we take note of the election results and hope that the election promises will not just be beautiful words mentioned only in booklets or videos. Political games are now secondary, and they do not interest me. There will still be an occasion to discuss the topic of clarifying political relations, percentages, and the many problems recorded during the elections. But that later. Now there are very serious challenges that were ignored before March 31, and by and large, remain without attention now. This is what we need to talk about and think about.

What do you mean?

As you know, I and the Justice party I lead, were the first to state the danger of the spread of the coronavirus epidemic. We called for an emergency state to be declared in the republic, to consider the possibility of postponing the elections and to tackle the issues of public health security of our people. The authorities, unfortunately, did not heed our calls. Elections took place, in the meantime, numerous events, including elections, were postponed all over the world. In the end, Armenia has also canceled the referendum.

Whatever safety measures were applied, the flow of large groups of people to the polling stations should still have caused the spread of infection. And so it happened, the second round of the presidential election coincided with the detection of coronavirus infected. It is no coincidence that voter participation in the second round of the presidential election was incomparably low. Be that as it may, the responsibility for the further development of events lies with the current government and with all those forces that were guided by other calculations. I hope that now they with all their strength will join in the implementation of the necessary work. Health care is now becoming the number one issue. In this regard, I am ready to make every effort to help solve this problem.

The party you led was elected to be represented at the parliament. The parliament is represented five forces, and not one of them has a controlling stake for the sole appointment of the government. The party led by President Harutyunyan lacks one mandate to form a government without a coalition. What do you think in the end will happen?

I’m not going to participate in the auction of posts and I can’t say what will be. Immediately after the first round of the presidential election, I said that I would not support any of the candidates who entered the second round.

Now the most important thing is to prevent the spread of infection. Competent and equivalent solutions are needed. We, by virtue of the votes we received, will force the authorities to work. And the rest the time will tell.

And the most important thing. Russian FM Sergei Lavrov made a sensational statement. He said that with the participation of Armenia and Azerbaijan, a phased solution to the Karabakh conflict is being discussed, according to which the Armenian side should cede territory, waiting in the future for the unlocking of transport routes. What is your point of view in this regard?

I have spoken about this many times. I was accused of giving extreme ratings. Well, let official Yerevan and Stepanakert give explanations now. After all, it was said that opinions were the same.

The parliamentary factions of Artsakh, all those people who work in a public field should also speak out in this regard. Everyone should speak out, without formalities or ambiguity.

One thing is clear to me: in 1997-1998, we abandoned the ill-fated phased version. Since then, nothing has changed up to this day. The formula “territories in exchange for peace or open communications” is unacceptable. We do not have a security zone or areas around Artsakh. We do not have territories to bargain.

The Armenian people drew the borders of Artsakh during the war, and later Armenians of Artsakh constitutionally fixed them. Anyone who agrees with the phased option, which leads to surrender, will repeat the fate of the agitator of this plan in 1998. Victory is not for sale!

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