“Aravot” carries results of an opinion poll according to which President Kocharian would win more than 20 percent of the vote, 10 percent more than his nearest rival, if presidential elections were held this Sunday. The paper comments that the findings of the poll, whether they are credible or not, should have a “sobering influence” on the Armenian opposition. “Although public discontent with the current authorities runs high, it appears that our citizens do not see the force or the leader who would cleverly formulate and articulate that discontent. As things stand now, the approval rating of the opposition alliance of 16 is not high due to internal differences and personal ambitions as well as the ideological ambiguity of that grouping. To put it simply, the [opposition] leaders have not yet shown the public why they are better than Kocharian.”
“Or” writes that one of those leaders, Artashes Geghamian, has already plunged the alliance into a “stalemate.” In these circumstances, any action could finally ruin opposition cooperation.
“Hayastani Hanrapetutyun” reports that opposition parties are not impressed with Geghamian’s political and economic program that was made public on Friday. The government-controlled daily expresses surprise at their “Olympic calm,” saying that they do not rush to work out a joint plan of action.
“Hayots Ashkhar” says Geghamian’s program is devoid of substance, calling it a “collection vague generalities.” The paper also quotes a Communist leader, Gagik Tadevosian, as saying that the future opposition platform must contain the main tenets of his party. Otherwise, he says, the Communists will leave the alliance. Tadevosian further says that many Communist activists feel that their party should put forward its own presidential candidate in any case.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” says the first joint opposition undertaking ended in failure on Friday, referring to the parties’ roundtable discussion on the energy sector privatization. The paper quotes an unnamed senior member of Geghamian’s National Accord party as complaining that “small parties” making up the 16-party coalition are distracting it from the achievement of its main goal: a change of regime. He says they view every joint gathering as an opportunity to sit next to Geghamian, Stepan Demirchian or Vladimir Darpinian in front of television cameras.
“Golos Armenii” writes that chances of any opposition deal before the first round of the presidential elections are “almost zero.” But this does not mean that none of the 16 parties will endorse Kocharian in the run-off vote.
But as “Haykakan Zhamanak” points out in another commentary, the opposition can draw comfort from the disintegration of the pro-presidential camp. “Kocharian’s reelection should be ruled out,” the paper says, predicting that Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian may soon fall out with Kocharian and get even better chances of winning the presidency. Some government factions, it claims, see Sarkisian as a “more convenient candidate.” The defense minister can also count on some opposition support, according to “Haykakan Zhamanak.”