TV debates in the immediate pre-election period often play a decisive role in American elections. It is difficult to say whether TV debates influence on the preferences of Armenian voters since the last successful debate between presidential candidates dates back to 2003 when the then President Robert Kocharyan and the opposition candidate Stepan Demirtchyan participate in a live debate.
President of the Public Council of Armenia, Vazgen Manukyan, says he did not have an opportunity to debate with his challengers during the two campaigns he was involved in. "We still lack the culture," he told A1+.
While Mr Manukyan highlights pre-election debates, he does not absolutize it as a ‘gifted candidate may lack rhetorical skills or vice versa, gain popularity thanks to his brilliant skills of a showman.'
Vazgen Manukyan says the culture of debates requires that the opposition and the government of the country periodically replace each other - something we have not witnessed in Armenia to this date.
"If one is always in the opposition and the other in power, the debate will not do any good as the opposition candidate can make statements without bearing responsibility for his words and the professionalism of the pro-government candidate will always be at a higher level," he said.
Mathematician Aram Harutyunayn is also experienced in presidential elections; he participated in the previous two elections. In 2008 he was invited to a debate by the representatives of his rivals.
"If I am not mistaken Galust Sahakyan was sent to the debate to represent Serzh Sargsyan," he said.
Regarding the culture of debates, the mathematician said, "The opposition has made its trump card to swear at the authorities. In their turn, the authorities threaten the opposition to tweak their ears," said Mr Harutyunyan.