“Haykakan Zhamanak” comments that the main problem with the coalition of 16 opposition parties is that at least six of their leaders have made public their intention to run for president. The problem is compounded by the fact that at least four opposition leaders “must be taken seriously.” “Things would have been clearer if each of the candidates had announced before joining the coalition that he finds it possible to see someone else run as a single candidate.” The paper believes that each of them hopes that he will be the single candidate. It urges the oppositionists to put aside their personal ambitions and accept any decision to be taken by the alliance majority. But neither Artashes Geghamian, nor Stepan Demirchian or anyone else has yet “uttered the magic word.” None of them is “prepared for not being the single candidate.”
“Hayots Ashkhar” anticipates that the opposition will not take a “concrete decision” on the single candidate in the coming months. It will instead “do everything to shaken and weaken the authorities’ position ahead of the elections.” The alliance will eventually split into several groupings, unable to agree on its joint presidential contender. They may only join forces in the second round of voting. But the pro-presidential paper is convinced that Kocharian will win an outright majority in the first round.
Not quite so, says “Or.” The independent daily believes that the possibility of a change of regime in Armenia will become “real” if the opposition coalition does not fall apart before the February elections. Kocharian’s problems will be compounded by growing bickering among his loyalists which is developing into overt mutual hostility. The inner-government discord will further deepen during the October 20 local elections. The paper says the opposition should have therefore waited until November to mount a concerted attack on the substantially weakened pro-presidential camp.
“Aravot” reports that Kocharian was angered by the fact that scathing criticism of the government at the recent congress of local government heads was expressed in his presence. But the paper says this does not mean that Kocharian disagreed with that criticism. He just thinks that it is dangerous to disclose his government-related intentions “prematurely” by effectively telling the Republicans their “days as a ruling party are numbered.” By revealing his intention to make sweeping changes in the ruling cabinet in case of his reelection, Kocharian risks losing the crucial Republican support.