“Iravunk” says the local and presidential elections in Armenia will inevitably be marred with a “clash of money bags,” refering to wealthy individuals with strong government connections. The growing ambitions of leading political parties will only add to the turmoil, the paper says.
“Golos Armenii” says that while the opposition parties are busy discussing presidential candidates, the Republican Party (HHK) of Prime Minister Andranik Markarian is actively preparing for the October local elections and looks set to win them. The victory will bolster the Republicans ahead of the other, more important polls.
Khoren Sarkisian, an outspoken Communist deputy who has just visited his native Martuni region, tells “Aravot” that not a single local resident will vote for Robert Kocharian in the next presidential elections. Sarkisian also claims that various opposition parties are now ready to put aside their differences and agree on a single presidential candidate. He says they should also divide their areas of responsibility in the event of coming to power.
“Aravot” admits that electoral chances of forces supporting former president Levon Ter-Petrosian are “not really big.” Their latest flurry of political activity is “probably an imitation directed against the authorities’ key pre-election point that the greatest danger [facing the country] is the HHSh’s return.” “The result is already visible. The majority of politicians, both pro-government and opposition, is no longer willing to believe in the Ter-Petrosian-Kocharian rivalry. They rule out the possibility of a real HHSh revanche.” So Kocharian will not be able to capitalize on the HHSh’s “image of a public bugbear.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that opposition forces represented in the Armenian parliament continue to believe that its dissolution by Kocharian is “very likely” this fall because that is desired by the HHK and other pro-presidential parties. Presumably, the latter want to make sure that they are represented in the next parliament before agreeing to campaign for Kocharian’s reelection.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” also claims that tensions continue to run in the Armenian interior ministry. Interior Minister Hayk Harutiunian and his deputies are engaged in an acrimonious infighting, seeking to shore up their influence before the ministry’s restructuring expected in January.
“Azg” reports that Armenian citizens crossing the Russian-Georgian border are humiliated, plundered, terrorized and even subjected to “physical pressure” by Russian and Georgian border guards, police and customs officials.