Citing anonymous “reliable sources,” “Hayots Ashkhar” reports that the leadership of the former ruling Armenian Pan-National Movement (HHSh) on Tuesday decided to nominate Levon Ter-Petrosian for the presidency. The HHSh board, however, refuses to officially comment on the information. The paper claims that Ter-Petrosian is again trying to cast himself as a peace-maker, capitalizing on America’s “frantic attempts” to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and change the geopolitical picture in the South Caucasus. The February elections, it says, is the last chance for Ter-Petrosian and the HHSh to “affect voters’ consciousness.”
But as “Orran” reports, the Tuesday meeting of the HHSh board did not result in any explicit decision on Ter-Petrosian’s participation in the elections. It says Ter-Petrosian has promised the party leaders to inform them of his final decision by November 19. “If Ter-Petrosian decides not to take part in the forthcoming elections, we will, in any case, contest them with our own candidate,” the HHSh deputy chairman, Andranik Hovakimian, says. He says the HHSh will not endorse any other opposition candidates because opposition parties that are not allied with Ter-Petrosian do not have the right agenda.
“Whatever happens, Artashes Geghamian will be elected president,” a senior member of Geghamian’s National Unity party, Aleksan Karapetian, tells “Haykakan Zhamanak.” “With his 4 or 5 percent approval ratings Kocharian has no chance of making it into the second round [of voting],” Karapetian claims.
“Golos Armenii” deplores the expected rise in the salaries of parliament deputies and senior government officials. The paper says the measure is not only unjust but will “weigh heavily on the shoulders of our generations.” “So we must follow that process very attentively,” it says. “Golos Armenii” believes that top officials’ wages must be pegged to the official minimum salary so that the former does not grow without a corresponding increase in the latter.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” calls into question the government’s ability to meet its budgetary targets projected for next year. The government, it says, has not explained how it intends to go about collecting 22 billion drams ($38 million) in extra tax revenues. It is only promising to improve tax administration and introduce more changes in the tax legislation. “This is hard to describe as anything but nice wishes,” the paper concludes.