"Haykakan Zhamanak" says a long speech by Constitutional Court chairman Gagik Harutiunian was the most interesting episode of Wednesday's celebrations of the late Karen Demirchian's 70th birth anniversary. The paper claims that Harutiunian hinted at President Kocharian when he stressed that no individual should place his personal self-interest above national interests. The paper goes on to make a far-reaching forecast: "Gagik Harutiunian, in essence, may become a presidential candidate acceptable to the main political forces. This applies to both the opposition and the dithering segment of the authorities and the so-called former leadership. And there is an impression that Gagik Harutiunian made a bid to become that candidate."
"Hayots Ashkhar" says the cooperation of 14 opposition parties campaigning against the A1+ channel's closure will not be long-lasting. As the presidential elections approach, the opposition camp will inevitably split into several factions.
In another commentary, "Hayots Ashkhar" suspects that the recent anti-Kocharian rallies were instigated by external forces. "In order to break Armenia and Artsakh, there are now attempts to mobilize local resources of big powers. The destabilization of the political situation would enable [them] to put Armenia before an intractable dilemma in the coming months." Either to make unilateral concessions on Karabakh or give power to those forces that are ready to make such concessions.
"Or" comments that Kocharian and his regime stand to gain from the escalation of political tensions. "These rallies can lead to either a strong political outbreak or a deep disillusionment. That is the main danger for the opposition forces." The paper says if A1+ was indeed shut down by Kocharian then that was a "seriously calculated step." "The opposition forces are thus being provoked [into radical actions] because the effect of the ensued demonstrations is already considerable."
"Azg" regrets that Armenian media have grown divided in their assessments of the A1+ shutdown. Media outlets, which have effectively split into two hostile camps, are thus becoming propaganda mouthpieces of political parties preparing for the next elections. The paper welcomes the pro-Kocharian majority's boycott of a special parliamentary session on A1+ initiated by the "populist" opposition.
"Aravot" editorializes that proposed changes in the controversial law on television and radio are "not quite undesirable for Kocharian." The parliament's decision to strip Kocharian of the right to form the national commission on broadcasting would allow the latter to "act more freely."
"Golos Armenii" is disappointed with the choice of former culture minister Armen Smbatian as Armenia's new ambassador to Russia. Fortunately, the paper says, the Russian-Armenian relations do not depend greatly on their diplomatic missions in each other's capitals. The paper believes that Smbatian owes his new post to Senik Gevorgian, a Russian tycoon of Armenian origin with whom he is closely linked.