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VETERAN POLITICIAN CALLS FOR BOYCOTT OF REFERENDUM

YEREVAN, OCTOBER 21, ARMENPRESS: A veteran Armenian politician said today his party will be advocating a boycott of the November 27 referendum on constitutional amendments.

Vazgen Manukian, the chairman of the National Democratic Union (NDU), said joining other opposition parties to say ‘no’ was unacceptable to his party. Clarifying his position in a press conference Manukian said the right decision is to boycott as it will give broader opportunities to supervise the process and to foil attempts to rig the voting outcome.

According to Manukian, part of voters will not go to the polls because of apathy, ‘but there is also an army of those who will go and say ‘yes.’ Asked to comment on the position of another prominent member of the opposition, Shavarsh Kocharian who said yesterday he would not urge his supporters to say `yes’ or `no’, nor boycott the referendum, Manukian said it was incomprehensible.

In a related development representatives of around 200 non-governmental organizations pledged today to travel across the country to acquaint people with the core and content of proposed changes, but said they would not politicize the process.

The initiating group has published a booklet called 10 Questions About Constitutional Changes. Also students of six universities will open a center in downtown Yerevan to give answers to voter’ questions on constitutional amendments.

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