"Orran" writes that the Constitutional Court's decision to annul results of a recent parliamentary by-election is "unprecedented" because it was in favor of an opposition party and against the pro-presidential Dashnaktsutyun party. The paper construes this fact as proof that "Dashnaktsutyun will have no place in the regime's consolidating team" and is simply being used by the authorities to create "an illusion of impartiality and honesty." "In general, every event during this political season should be regarded in the context of the 2003 presidential elections."
According to "Haykakan Zhamanak," Dashnaktsutyun wants to "prove to Kocharian that he has to rely on the party because it is making a strong showing in elections." "On the other hand, Serzh Sarkisian and other government wings are doing everything to make sure that the Dashnaks can't prove that," the paper says.
In another commentary, "Haykakan Zhamanak" says the defeat in Sunday's local elections of a candidate representing the opposition People's Party (HZhK) demonstrated its "political and intellectual weakness." HZhK leader Stepan Demirchian, it says, did not even bother to campaign for the election of his party's candidate as head of Yerevan's Nork-Marash district. "It may well be that he has thereby lost his last chance of becoming the single opposition candidate" in the presidential elections.
"Or" is skeptical about the opposition's ability to put forward a single presidential candidate, saying that there are serious differences between leading opposition parties. "The collapse of this [opposition] front will not be met with surprise," the paper says. "The stronger the Armenian opposition parties feel, the weaker their desire to unite and the greater the authorities' chances of emerging victorious from the elections. None of the opposition figures can compete on equal terms with the president's entire administrative potential, the united television field [supporting Kocharian]." "As for the presidential camp, it is united," continues "Or," dismissing reports about squabbles among Kocharian's leading allies.
However, the pro-presidential daily "Hayots Ashkhar" sees increasingly "tough competition" between different governing factions which it says came to light during recent local elections in various parts of the country. The paper believes that the pro-presidential camp is now more divided than the opposition. As things stand now, those divisions could deepen during the nationwide local elections in October. This would make it extremely difficult for Kocharian to rally them around his candidacy ahead of the 2003 presidential elections, the paper concludes.
"Iravunk" claims that Dashnaktsutyun has decided not to contest the upcoming presidential elections in Nagorno-Karabakh at Kocharian's urging. In return for that concession, the paper says, "Dashnaktsutyun demanded privileges in a number of economic spheres."
"Aravot" accuses the ministry for state revenues of continuing to extort illegal advance payments from corporate taxpayers. Only those businesses that are owned by top government officials or their cronies are spared the practice. "Those shadow entrepreneurs, among them Diaspora Armenians, are being exempted from paying taxes in exchange for pledging financial assistance during the pre-election period," the paper claims.