“Haykakan Zhamanak” says former prime minister Aram Sarkisian signaled on Tuesday a shift in his Hanrapetutyun party’s strategy when he said that he does not intend to withdraw his presidential bid at this point. The statement did not go down well with Hanrapetutyun’s main ally, the People’s Party of Armenia (HZhK).
“Orran” says the Armenian opposition is right in delaying an agreement on its joint presidential candidate. Such a candidate would have already been subjected to harsh criticism by the state propaganda machine. But the paper says the opposition is showing no signs of a consolidation process. On the contrary, differences among opposition leaders seem to be deepening. They risk finally confusing the anti-government electorate.
General Manvel Grigorian, chairman of the once powerful Yerkrapah Union of Nagorno-Karabakh war veterans, throws his weight behind Robert Kocharian’s reelection bid, in an interview with “Hayastani Hanrapetutyun.” Grigorian says his view is shared by most that rank-and-file members of Yerkrapah. Even so, the general admits that there are dissenters in the Yerkrapah leadership, complaining that “some people suffer from a lust for leadership and create organizations to satisfy their ambitions.”
Former national security minister David Shahnazarian comments in “Aravot” on possible reasons why Armenia was initially included on the U.S. immigration blacklist. “According to my information, last year, after September 11, some individuals of Afghan origin suspected of having links with international terrorist structures entered the United States with Republic of Armenia passports,” Shahnazarian says. Therefore, he says, the U.S. decision could have been the result of an error or misunderstanding. “It is possible that the U.S. authorities had done that deliberately,” the oppositionist adds.
Dashnaktsutyun leader Vahan Hovannisian tells “Hayots Ashkhar” that Russia should be interested in Kocharian’s victory in the February 19 presidential elections because it sees a “reliable partner” in the current Armenian leadership. Hovannisian says no other presidential contender is more acceptable to the Kremlin. Even those candidates who want Armenia “merge into Russia.” “The Russian economy has ceased to be ideology-driven and when you say ‘I want to live with you’ they (the Russian leaders) first count the money to see whether they can feed you,” he explains.