About K. Demirchyan

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After 10 years of silence

image Presidential elections 1998. On Februaury 3, 1998 President of Armenia Levon Ter-Petrosyan resigned from his post and, according to the Constitution, early presidential elections were appointed at March 16. So far Demirchyan showed no intention to return to political arena, but during the preceding years his popularity as an effective leader who was able to cope with the severe problems of the country had been gaining momentum. Various and large strata of people hoped to see him at the office again. This public demand made it impossible for Demirchyan to stand aloof and he made a decision to run for presidency. On march 16,according to the Central Election Comission none of the 12 candidates won the majority of votes. The run-off was appointed at March 30 with two contenders having garnered most votes cast: Karen Demirchyan and Prime Minister and Acting President of Armenia Robert Kocharyan. According to official results Demirchyan won 40.52% of votes cast in the the second round. However, due to mass falsifications during balloting Demirchyan didn't accept the official outcome and didn't congratulate his rival. Nevertheless he didn't dispute the results avoiding to exacerbate the extremely explosive situation in the country. And yet he didn't give in. image Karen Demirchyan and Vazgen Sarkisyan Demirchyan embarked on foundation of a political party with a view to participating in the forthcoming parliamentary elections to be held next year. In a few months Karen Demirchyan's People's Party of Armenia (PPA) became the largest and one of the most influential political forces in the country. At the first congress of PPA Demirchyan was unanimously elected its chairman.
Two months before the parliamentary elections the leader of the Republican Party of Armenia (RPA) and the then Defence Minister Vazgen Sarkisyan addressed Demirchyan offering close cooperation between the two parties for creating social consensus and withstanding the challenges faced by the country. Demirchyan accepted the offer and on March 30, 1999 the two parties formed an alliance named "Unity". On the parliamentary elections held on May 30 the "Unity" block swept constituency thus taking the majority of places in the legislative body. Karen Demirchyan was elected the imageK. Demirchyan's grave in Komitas park Chairman of the National Assembly and Vazgen Sarkisyan was appointed Prime Minister of Armenia. Demirchyan and Sarkisyan worked on their posts only for few months. On October 27, 1999 approximately at 5 p.m. when a routine Wednesday question-and-answer session of parliamentarians and members of government was under way several gunmen burst into the conference-hall and opened fire. Karen Demirchyan and Vazgen Sarkisyan were shot dead. Victims to this terrorist act fell also vice-speakers Rouben Miroyan, Yuri Bakhshyan, Minister of State Leonard Petrosyan, Members of Parliament Mikael Kotanyan, Henrik Abrahamyan, Armenak Armenakyan.
On December 27, 1999 Karen Demirchyan, post mortem, was awarded the title of National Hero of Armenia. In Yerevan, in Demirchyan's honour were named a street, the Sports and Concert Arena, the Yerevan subway and a school. Also designations were made in other cities of the Republic. Karen Demirchyan was buried in the Pantheon of Komitas park in Yerevan.

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