“Azg” carries the results of the latest survey of the most influential Armenian politicians conducted by a Moscow think-tank called Panorama among political analysts. President Kocharian, Defense Minister Sarkisian and Prime Minister Andranik Markarian continue to top the list and are far ahead of other politicians in terms of their influence. The only major change in Panorama rankings is former President Levon Ter-Petrosian’s rise to the fifth place. Also noteworthy is the perceived increase in the influence of Minister for Local Government Hovik Abrahamian and former Foreign Minister Raffi Hovannisian.
According to “Aravot,” the leader of the Miasnutyun parliamentary faction, Galust Sahakian, believes that the opposition and governing forces will one day get together and jointly discuss pressing issues facing Armenia. “That moment seems to be very close,” Sahakian says, arguing that the opposition is now realizing that it can not remove Kocharian from power. He says it is vital for Armenia to rule out a flare-up of political tensions during the upcoming elections. “I think that it will be possible to reach certain agreements with the opposition. I also think that it will be possible to temper the authorities’ zeal a little bit,” he says.
Another leading pro-Kocharian politician, Dashnaktsutyun’s Vahan Hovannisian, tells “Hayots Ashkhar” that the opposition should seek to win the elections “only in a fair way” and “without hysteria.” Turning to Kocharian’s reelection chances, Hovannisian says: “If the incumbent president wants to stay on and continue to implement his programs for another five years, he should not rely on the election campaign but display the political will to implement necessary reforms, for which he still has some time.” The Dashnaktsutyun leader also admits the existence of “sound forces” in the Armenian opposition. He says the forthcoming congress of Dashnaktsutyun will show whether the nationalist party’s organization in Armenia will endorse Kocharian’s reelection bid.
Commenting on the 6th anniversary of post-election riots in Yerevan, a prominent representative of Armenia’s “former regime,” Ara Sahakian, says the current opposition is much better than the one which challenged Ter-Petrosian in 1996. Sahakian says oppositionists like Vazgen Manukian, Shavarsh Kocharian and Arshak Sadoyan remain “morally repugnant” for him.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” says that unlike Kocharian, Azerbaijani President Heydar Aliev is reinforcing his country’s position in the international arena. Aliev, the paper says, has managed to simultaneously improve relations with Russia, Georgia and Turkey in recent weeks. This policy has enhanced Azerbaijani chances of returning its Armenian-occupied territories in the near future, it concludes.