|Source:||Karabakh Online, translation by AAA NK|
Lately, the option of holding a recurring referendum on the status of Nagorno Karabagh as one of the possible ways of resolving the Azerbaijani-Karabagh conflict is sounded. Following are positions of some deputies and experts on the issue:
Chairman of the NKR NA permanent committee on defense, security and law and order Rudolf Martirosian: «Referendum is the highest level of expressing the will of any people. The people of Nagorno Karabagh expressed once its will, with all the legal consequences proceeding from this. Actually, it is not difficult to organize a recurring referendum in Nagorno Karabagh, but people cannot have two positions regarding the same idea. However, if the international community desires to learn the will of the Artsakh people once again, I'm not against a recurring referendum, though I'm sure that nothing has changed in fact. On the contrary, if in 1991, 99,89% of the population voted for the independence, I think the number will increase now. Let the world make sure that the people of Artsakh is firm in its aspiration to create and strengthen its statehood and is faithful to the chosen political course. We welcome any political act, via which the people could express its will, and the international community would accept it”.
Chairman of the NKR NA permanent committee on state and legal issues Yuri Hairapetian: “My attitude to the idea of holding a recurring referendum on the status of Nagorno Karabagh is flatly negative. For the 14 years, which have passed since the proclamation of the independence of the Nagorno Karabagh Republic, no processes testifying that the people’s position has changed even a jot have taken place».
Independent expert, sociologist David Karabekian: «The issue on the necessity of conducting a recurring referendum causes different evaluations. It is not quite clear who and how will hold the referendum, how the questions for voting will be put. One thing is that the population will vote «for» or «against» any specific option of the status of Nagorno Karabagh, for instance, that “the Nagorno Karabagh Republic be an independent and democratic state», as it was during the referendum of December 10, 1991; the other thing is that the population is proposed to vote for maintaining the current status of the region, i.e. de-facto independent state, or for its change, for instance, reunion with Armenia, or any other form of integration with Armenia. The attitude to the referendum also depends on how Nagorno Karabagh is represented. If Nagorno Karabagh is the expresser and legitimate representative of the interests of all Armenians of the North Karabagh and NKR, and the status of Nagorno Karabagh is a form of modus-vivendi of the Armenian (NKR) and Azerbaijani (AR) states in the East Trans-Caucasus and the basis of determining the relations of NKR with the European organizations and the CIS, the necessity of referendum seems quite righteous. But, if the necessity of holding a referendum is caused simply by the Azerbaijan’s consideration that the referendum of 1991 is illegal, so the attitude to the recurring referendum can be only negative, especially that holding any referendum is often connected with some conditions, for instance, withdrawal of forces from certain territories, return of refugees, etc., which is illegal and questions the legitimacy of Nagorno Karabagh”.
In the context of the recent statement of NKR President Arkady Ghukasian, another view to the issue of recurring referendum occurs – just the idea of its holding means indirect recognition of the Karabagh people’s right to determine its fate via general voting, recognition of the actual existence of NKR as a state, as well as the eligibility and propriety of determining the status of Nagorno Karabagh via a referendum, which discloses the falsity of any speculations on the legitimacy of the referendum.
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