“Haykakan Zhamanak” describes Robert Kocharian’s visit to the southeastern province of Syunik as a “pre-election” one, arguing that senior Armenian officials travel to the area mainly “from one election to another.” The paper says the president will face in Syunik the grim reality of mass unemployment and unpaid salaries and pensions.
“Azg” is more preoccupied with former president Levon Ter-Petrosian’s possible return to politics. The paper reports that Ter-Petrosian is scheduled to visit Boston next month at the invitation of a local Armenian organization. He is expected to deliver a lecture at Harvard University, his first public speech since his resignation four years ago.
Meanwhile, the newspaper of the governing Republican Party, “Zhamanak,” continues to run commentaries which many Armenian observers are likely to find shocking. The weekly newspaper’s main argument against Ter-Petrosian’s return to power is that it would increase the number of mosques and synagogues as well as mixed marriages in Armenia. “The centuries-old Armenian nation would inevitably lose its identity by becoming a target of political and economic incursions by foreigners,” it warns.
“Zhamanak” also comes out against possible reelection to the parliament of Vano Siradeghian, the fugitive former interior minister. It says Siradeghian must not be registered as a candidate because he is on the run.
But a senior member of Siradeghian’s Armenian Pan-National Movement (HHSh) party brands the case against the ex-minister a “legend.” Aram Manukian tells “Iravunk” that by leveling various accusations against the former authorities the current regime wanted to “justify its own existence.”
“Yerkir” quotes Artashes Geghamian, leader of the opposition National Unity party, as saying that the HHSh leaders are “angels” compared to the current authorities. Under the HHSh rule, Geghamian says, there were not that many political killings in Armenia and there were “no mafia clans which concentrated all economic levers in their hands.” Geghamian, who used to be highly critical of the former authorities, says he is now ready to cooperate with the latter in “unmasking the criminal policy pursued by the presidential clan.” He calls on opposition forces to rally around a single presidential candidate.
“Aravot” claims that the government has already taken a “political decision” to force the independent TV channel A1 Plus off the air. Kocharian, it says, is keen to make sure that no TV station airs criticism of his track record during his election campaign.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” also says that earlier this week there was a “serious discussion in the presidential palace on what to do with A1 Plus. It says the director of the Sharm company which is competing with A1 Plus for the air frequency is confident about his victory.