"Hayots Ashkhar" comments that Armenia has never prepared for presidential elections with "such a poor selection of candidates." The pro-presidential paper writes that unlike the previous elections, there is only one "authoritative politician" now: Robert Kocharian. It says the opposition camp is full of "ambitious" leaders who will never recognize others' superiority.
"Orran" believes that what will happen in Armenia next February is "hard to call an election." It will essentially boil down to Kocharian's reelection. "The pro-presidential forces will be seeking to ensure Kocharian's victory, while opposition forces will try to scuttle that reelection by all means," the paper writes. The opposition realizes that it will not put up a serious fight without fielding a joint candidate. "So the opposition forces are doomed to overcoming their ambitions…and putting forward a single candidate." But no such candidate is yet looming on the horizon.
According to "Iravunk," the main presidential contenders are in search of "external support bases." The paper also quotes the leader of the People's Deputy parliamentary group, Karen Karapetian, as saying that there will be less vote buying in the next elections. Many members of the non-partisan group have been accused of buying their way into the parliament. Speaking about that, Karapetian says: "After all, if the candidates are handing out something during elections, let them do that. I find it normal. They are stealing so much from the people. Let them give something back," says the parliamentarian who made a fortune in Russia. But he says Armenians are now less willing to accept bribes for their votes.
"Aravot" agrees with Kocharian's recent remark that rumors about the resignation of senior government officials are usually spread by those who have set sights on their posts. And once the endangered official hears about his imminent dismissal he begins to embezzle public funds "with a tripled zeal." "Yes, the bureaucrat must be the last person to learn of his sacking. Otherwise, the work of his agency will grind to a halt."
The brother of Poghos Poghosian, an Armenian from Georgia reportedly beaten to death by Kocharian's bodyguards last September, tells "Haykakan Zhamanak" that he is continuing to fight for justice. "Today, I'm alone," Andranik Poghosian says. "Neither political parties, nor human rights organizations are behind me. I will go to the end even alone." He hopes that the change of leadership in Armenia would result in a fresh investigation into his brother's violent death in a Yerevan cafe. Andranik
Poghosian says that some of his Yerevan neighbors have been questioned by police over last week's explosion that destroyed the Mercedes car belonging to Aghamal Harutiunian, the presidential bodyguard who got a suspended short sentence for the "negligent homicide."