“Hayastani Hanrapetutyun” laments the “abundance” of presidential candidates in Armenia. “They should first win popular sympathy with an impeccable reputation and deeds, and only then seek a mandate for the presidency.” The government-run daily also holds Armenian parties responsible for the widespread apathy and lack of faith in future among the people.
Not surprisingly, Tuesday’s congress of the opposition Hanrapetutyun party is covered by “Hayastani Hanrapetutyun” from the same angle. “It is becoming clear that Hanrapetutyun will support Stepan Demirchian jointly with his HZhK. So why don’t they immediately announce their support for Demirchian?” The paper believes that Hanrapetutyun leader Aram Sarkisian will withdraw his candidacy after securing free air time on state television and making it available to Demirchian.
“Hayots Ashkhar” also finds the Hanrapetutyun gathering dull and boring. It was expected that the creation a new opposition alliance comprising Hanrapetutyun, the HZhK and several small parties will be announced at the congress. “But Hanrapetutyun refrained from fully exposing its cards for the moment,” the paper concludes.
Even pro-opposition papers are not quite impressed with Sarkisian’s nomination for the presidency. “Haykakan Zhamanak” mentions the fact that many senior Hanrapetutyun members had participated in the 1998 “illegal” ouster of then President Levon Ter-Petrosian. But all they want now is to get rid of Robert Kocharian, the person whom they brought to power.
“Orran,” a newspaper controlled by former Foreign Minister Raffi Hovannisian, takes the most positive look at the Hanrapetutyun move. The paper praises the party for its “principled” stance, consistent expression of “truth” and aversion to any deals with the current authorities.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” brings its readers’ attention to the fact that Hovannisian attended the Hanrapetutyun congress with his wife -- a very unusual move by an Armenian politician. The paper welcomes it, but remains convinced that the U.S.-born former minister is not eligible to contest the elections because “he has not been an [Armenian] citizen for the last ten years.”
“Aravot” editorializes that Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian, who will take over as Robert Kocharian’s election campaign manager, should have resigned his post, instead of taking a three-month leave. If Kocharian gets reelected, the paper reasons, Sarkisian can again be appointed defense minister. “In fact, he continues to serve as defense minister, simultaneously performing the duties of the Kocharian campaign manager.” The paper is surprised that the opposition does not seem to be particularly concerned about that.