“Golos Armenii” sees continuing widespread voter apathy in Armenia ahead of the approaching local and national elections. Having little faith in politicians, quite a few Armenians are ready to accept vote bribes, while many others do not want to go polls, let alone study electoral platforms of political parties or individual candidates. This means that many “unworthy candidates” will continue to get elected to the parliament and local government bodies. “Unfortunately, we are still not conscious of the fact we live in our home and are not guests,” the Russian-language paper notes regretfully.
“Hayots Ashkhar” says Artashes Geghamian’s “so-called anti-crisis program” has been criticized and rejected by almost all political forces. “And Geghamian is now trying to find a kind of nationwide conspiracy in it,” the paper says. This only proves that Geghamian’s bid for the presidency was ill-prepared and premature. His heavy reliance on populism has not paid off. “It is becoming evident that Geghamian lacks not only a credible program, but also an ability to listen to the expression of views and learn lessons from them.”
Filaret Berikian, a former radical oppositionist, tells “Hayots Ashkhar” that the current authorities do not restrict opposition activities like their predecessors had done in the past. Berikian says the presidential election of next February will not be a repeat of the troubled presidential ballot of September 1996. Shavarsh Kocharian, who remains in opposition, also believes that the current authorities “will not repeat the mistake of the former regime.” But other opposition leaders do not rule out post-election trouble.
“Orran” says that President Kocharian should blame only himself for his lack of popularity. The paper disagrees with his Wednesday remark that Armenians had no hope for the future in the early 1990s. “If they did not have hope, we would have been in a much more deplorable situation. The war [with Azerbaijan] would not have had a victorious end and only 10 percent of the population would have stayed in the country,” the pro-opposition daily says.
In an interview with “Aravot,” the director of the closed A1+ television, Mesrop Movsesian, accuses the authorities of deliberately delaying biddings for more vacant air frequencies to deny the opposition access to electronic media during the election campaign. Movsesian claims that A1+ is under continuing government pressure to discontinue its activities. “But this is not going to work,” he says. “As I promised to my staff, I will carry this struggle right to the end.”