“Aravot” reports that opposition leaders Artashes Geghamian and Stepan Demirchian have left for Moscow on trips which are not related to each other. The paper says the two men will hold separate meetings with “some Russian structures supporting them” and “will try to raise additional funds for their election campaigns.”
Writing in “Haykakan Zhamanak,” Geghamian seeks to expose “serious regress” in Armenia under Robert Kocharian’s rule and promises sweeping changes in case of his victory in the presidential elections. Geghamian vows to purge the government of corrupt officials and replace them by honest and competent people. “These people would form a government of national unity which would revive public faith,” he says.
“Hayots Ashkhar,” meanwhile, attacks Geghamian for publicly offering Kocharian security guarantees in return for his resignation at the weekend. The paper then presents the results of what it says are five different opinion polls which give Kocharian a huge lead over his challengers. According to the most recent of those polls, announced by state television on Sunday, Kocharian’s approval rating is about 30 percent, while Geghamian and Demirchian have 8 percent and 13 percent respectively.
According to another poll cited by “Azg,” Kocharian has only 18.5 percent against Demirchian’s 16.5 percent and Geghamian’s 15 percent. Trailing them are Raffi Hovannisian (6.5 percent) and Vazgen Manukian (5 percent).
“Iravunk” writes that although there is no lack of political parties pledging their allegiance to Kocharian, the president has “no real support base.” The largest pro-presidential parties -- HHK, Dashnaktsutyun and Orinats Yerkir --- face “serious internal problems” after deciding to endorse Kocharian. The paper claims that they might therefore ditch him “under some circumstances.”
“Iravunk” also takes the view that the U.S.-born Hovannisian could steal much of Western support for Kocharian if he is registered as a presidential candidate. Failure to register him would trigger a “noisy scandal where the legitimacy of Robert Kocharian’s nomination will be an object of discussions.”