“Aravot” dismisses as a public relations stunt Robert Kocharian’s claim that he was forced into running for reelection in 2003 by his “malicious” opponents. “Predictably, in 2008, too, there will be malicious and poisoned politicians who will force Kocharian to cling to his post, blocking their way with his body.” Another commentary in the pro-opposition paper concludes that the latest exchange of fire between the opposition parties and Kocharian revealed the latter’s lack of “self-control.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that the leaders of the People’s and National Unity parties have derided Kocharian’s Saturday announcement. One of them joked that the opposition would not have demanded his resignation had it known what the demand will result in.
Analyzing Kocharian’s chances of reelection, “Hayots Ashkhar” lists what it thinks are his merits and shortcomings. The president is credited with political stability and the improvement of the economic situation over the past year. He enjoys the support of most mainstream parties and can boast major gains in the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process and foreign policy in general. On the negative side is the absence of a united “political team” in the president’s entourage, the existence of numerous government officials with a “vulnerable background” and the fact that the positive changes are slow. The pro-Kocharian paper believes that these negative factors can be easily overcome before the next election.
“Hayots Ashkhar” also comments that the “radical” opposition is well aware that its impeachment drive will end in failure. “But they simply have no other way out because their resources for the political struggle are getting depleted day by day.” Attempts to launch impeachment proceedings will at least not add to Kocharian’s authority in both domestic and international scene.
“Zhamanak” says the political life in Armenia is entering a new period characterized by “tough confrontation and extreme intolerance.” This does not come as a surprise to the paper which earlier predicted a “fierce political autumn.”
“Yerkir” writes that current realities, both external and internal, do not bode well for the opposition success. Russia, on which the opposition pins hopes, is not intent on undermining the current Armenian leadership. On the domestic front, Kocharian has a loyal parliament along with a state bureaucracy and financial “oligarchy” that are not interested in political upheavals. “So there will be demonstrations, sanctioned and unsanctioned marches, individual or collective statements. But all that will get diluted in the overall democratic process.”
But as “Iravunk” suggests, the main purpose of Kocharian’s announcement of his reelection plans was to show the unreliable state apparatus, his “main support base,” that he is in control and does not intend to cede power any time soon. And the Armenian president will try to prevent street protests “at any cost” during Russian President Vladimir Putin’s upcoming visit to Yerevan.