"Aravot" alleges that Armenia's law-enforcement agencies are planning "certain actions" against Nikol Pashinian, the editor-in-chief of "Haykakan Zhamanak." The paper says they want to intimidate Pashinian to stop his newspaper's criticisms of Kocharian's regime.
"Haykakan Zhamanak" makes the same allegations, saying that it has evidence to substantiate them.
Another pro-opposition daily, "Orran," accuses the leader of the National Accord party, Artashes Geghamian, of splitting the Armenian opposition with his presidential ambitions. Geghamian, the paper says, leaves the opposition with no option but to either endorse his candidacy in the next presidential elections or hand victory to Kocharian. Even the existence of at least two opposition candidates would allow Kocharian to split the so-called protest vote and claim victory.
"Hayots Ashkhar," whose correspondent repeatedly quarrelled with Geghamian during the latter's Thursday news conference, recalls that he polled only 0.4 percent of the vote during the previous presidential elections held in 1998. The pro-presidential paper also points to Geghamian's "scornful" attitude toward Stepan Demirchian, the popular leader of the opposition People's Party of Armenia (HZhK).
"Azg" reports that during his recent trip to the United States Demirchian met with Armenia's London-based former prime minister, Armen Sarkisian. The meeting held in New York was organized by two wealthy Diaspora Armenians. One of them, Vache Manukian of Britain, has reportedly fallen out with Kocharian. The paper claims that the meeting focused on ways of attracting funding for the Armenian opposition's election campaign.
"The opposition must necessarily act with a single joint candidate," a senior member of the Hanrapetutyun party, Ghukas Ulikhanian, tells "Iravunk." "The sooner that candidate is selected, the greater the chances of victory. I think that that issue will be solved by the middle of August because little time is left."
"Yerkir" is skeptical about the opposition's ability to field a single candidate. "In the next two months the opposition will not come up with a joint program," the paper says. Opposition leaders are too ambitious to pull out of the presidential race.
"Iravunk" comments that Kocharian's statements "escalating the political situation" are driven by his sense of insecurity. "Facing both domestic and external tough challenges, Robert Kocharian is apparently trying to show everybody that his mood is resolute." He does have cause for alarm as nobody is rushing to pledge his absolute loyalty to the president.