Dashnaktsutyun leader Vahan Hovannisian believes that countries of Western Europe are “no less corrupt” than Armenia. “And I know very well that some of their representatives visiting Azerbaijan do not return home with empty hands,” he tells “Hayots Ashkhar.” Hovannisian, who is chairman of the parliament committee on defense and security, is incensed with the threat of sanctions against Armenia issued last week by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE). He accuses the PACE of pro-Azerbaijani bias. “I can’t understand those of our politicians who are inclined to forgive the Council of Europe everything.”
“Aravot” reports that Ararat Zurabian, a senior member of the opposition Armenian Pan-National Movement (HHSh) and head of Yerevan’s central administrative district, is confident of his victory in the October 20 local elections. Zurabian says the authorities are too weak to manipulate the polls. “The authorities do not command the support of the overwhelming majority of the people, which will be needed for winning the main [presidential] election,” he says.
An aide to President Robert Kocharian, Aleksan Harutiunian, tells “Hayots Ashkhar” that it is essential that the upcoming elections be free and fair. “I don’t think that money will play a particularly large role in these elections,” he says. “I don’t think so because the people, after all, have seen the consequences of electing for money.”
Interviewed by “Orran,” opposition leader Artashes Geghamian makes the point that the 1998 resignation of Levon Ter-Petrosian did not mark a regime change in Armenia. “It’s just that one HHSh member was replaced by another,” Geghamian says, alluding to Kocharian’s past connections with the former ruling party. He continues to allege that the current and former authorities have cut a deal for the February election. He also says that real motives of opposition parties that formed an anti-Kocharian coalition will become evident in December.
“Azg” says the opposition is already preparing the public for its failure to nominate a joint presidential candidate and win the February vote. They are also seeking to justify their defeat with allegations of vote rigging the paper says.
“Aravot” editorializes that the ArmenTel telecommunications monopoly has failed to meet the market demand for mobile phone services in Armenia. The paper says the Greek-owned firm, which is legally protected against competition, has no incentives to improve its work.