“Haykakan Zhamanak” criticizes National Democratic Union (AZhM) leader Vazgen Manukian for his recipe of a Karabakh settlement voiced at the AZhM convention on Thursday. Manukian, it says, remains locked in “the embrace of political romanticism” and offers totally unrealistic ways of ending the Karabakh conflict. The paper at the same time notes that Manukian is the only presidential candidate to have said something about the Karabakh conflict so far.
“Orran” says the AZhM gathering was short of “enthusiasm” which made the party different from other political forces in the past. The paper describes Manukian’s speech as “in-depth, elitist and, as always, ideological” and construes it as an expression of his readiness to endorse another opposition presidential candidate.
Even “Hayots Ashkhar” carries positive comments on Manukian. The pro-government paper writes that Manukian has huge intellectual superiority over other opposition leaders. Nonetheless, he now lacks the influence and popularity to become a joint opposition candidate in the presidential elections.
“Iravunk” claims that Armenia’s current and former regimes maintain “close ties” and plan to cooperate in the presidential and parliamentary elections. The paper speculates that if Robert Kocharian were to lose power he would prefer to see Levon Ter-Petrosian as his successor because they both represent “the system of clans.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” says if Ter-Petrosian refuses to contest the elections he will thereby admit the defeat of his political ideas. “If he remains a politician and does not want to turn into a mere historical value, he must break this idyllic status quo,” the paper writes, adding that it would be extremely disappointed with the ex-president’s refusal to join the race. “In that case, he would not be acceptable to both politicians and the public…Ter-Petrosian’s electoral potential is fairly large and strong.” His five-year silence has translated into substantial popular support, especially against the backdrop of the current political elite. Besides, the existing state bureaucracy has its roots in the Ter-Petrosian era. “Many of those in government have serious problems with Kocharian and his entourage.”