"Azg" discusses the results of a recent opinion poll among political experts that shows a steep rise in former President Levon Ter-Petrosian's influence. The paper attributes this to intense speculation about the ex-president's possible participation in the February election which has been fueled by some Ter-Petrosian associates and the former ruling HHSh. It also emphasizes the fact that Azerbaijan is particularly interested in Ter-Petrosian's return to power.
"Iravunk" draws parallels between October 2002 and October 1997. "In both cases the president's support bases are quite shaky," the paper says, adding that the only difference is that the Karabakh issue is not as urgent now as it was five years ago. But Robert Kocharian, it says, is facing a challenge of similar magnitude: the October 20 local elections. They will deepen differences inside the ruling regime and inflict major political losses on Kocharian. He is now torn between the so-called "oligarchs" and loyal political parties.
"President Kocharian has to make a choice between rival factions," agrees "Or." The paper says he is primarily motivated by how helpful they can be for his reelection campaign. So every pro-presidential party will be seeking to emerge stronger from the local polls. As things now, it is Prime Minister Andranik Markarian's Republican Party (HHK) that is becoming the main power base of Kocharian. "In this situation, a confrontation with the prime minister could be fateful for Kocharian."
"Hayots Ashkhar" reports that the majority of local election candidates are wealthy businessmen and quasi-mafiosi "neighborhood guys." Political parties will again find it extremely difficult to compete with the "bourgeoisie." The latter needs more government posts to tighten its hold on the country's economic wealth. This fact makes the electoral process an integral part of a "ruthless struggle for the accumulation and re-distribution of capital." The rich clearly support the current authorities, giving them additional resources and power.
"Aravot" attacks Council of Europe rapporteurs for describing the Armenian media as predominantly corrupt and unprofessional. The paper writes angrily that their report to the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly did not cite specific examples of journalists writing news reports in exchange for kickbacks.
But "Hayots Ashkhar" points out gleefully that the report is mainly based on Council of Europe officials' contacts with the pro-opposition media.