The front pages of most Armenian newspapers carry the pictures of Hrant Matevosian, a prominent Armenian novelist who died on Wednesday at the age of 67.
“Orran” comments that Matevosian’s death, no matter how sad and unfortunate it is, marks the “beginning of his immortality.” “He was great and remains great,” the paper says, summing up the general tone of press commentaries.
“Hayots Ashkhar” reports that campaign headquarters of most presidential candidates say they will finish the collection of voter signatures in the next few days. None of them faced any “administrative hurdles” in the process. Officials at President Kocharian’s campaign headquarters deny “gossips” that many Armenians refuse to give their signatures in support of his registration as a presidential candidate. The paper argues for its part that the president is backed by at least three influential political parties that can easily collect the required number of signatures.
In an interview with “Haykakan Zhamanak,” parliament speaker Armen Khachatrian boasts having an army of supporters “worth ten political parties.” Khachatrian also saves no words to express his sympathy for Kocharian. “Kocharian is a very good strategist and makes the right decisions when taking political steps. He has a strong political will and manages to plan and pursue his actions right to the end,” the speaker says. Khachatrian also disagrees with the pro-opposition paper in that Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian’s appointment as Kocharian’s election campaign manager was “a show of force” on the part of the authorities.
However, Sarkisian’s new role is construed as a sign of “elements of panic” in the presidential camp by Manuk Gasparian, an outspoken opposition lawmaker. “But I know Sarkisian very well; he will never resort to fraud because he has no intention to flee Armenia,” Gasparian tells “Orran.” “The deputy chief of the [Kocharian] campaign headquarters will be [Local Government Minister] Hovik Abrahamian. He is the one who will resort to large-scale falsifications. He will be the author of instructions to be issued to community and village chiefs.” Gasparian predicts that Kocharian will win in Gyumri and Abrahamian’s native Ararat province, but will suffer “a crushing defeat” in Yerevan. “Even the administrative levers won’t help him,” the parliamentarian claims.
The presidential press secretary, Vahe Gabrielian, tells “Ayb-Fe” that Wednesday’s restructuring of the interior and national security ministries was aimed at preventing them from meddling in politics. “From now on, the heads of those structures will come from relevant fields and have relevant professionalism and skills,” Gabrielian says. “These will not be political appointments anymore.”