“Orran,” a newspaper controlled by Raffi Hovannisian, blames President Kocharian for a Yerevan court’s refusal to certify the former foreign minister’s eligibility to run for president. The court, it says, acted “only in the interests of the head of state.”
“Aravot” believes that by taking the matter to the court, Hovannisian “created a serious problem” for Kocharian. “Common sense suggests that our president should also appeal to the court in order not to call the legitimacy of his nomination into question by asking for the recognition of his [ten-year] citizenship,” the paper says. But, it says, Kocharian is behaving as if the citizenship controversy is irrelevant to his presidential bid. Hovannisian’s disqualification from the election campaign is thus a vivid example of selective justice in Armenia.
“Azg” notes disapprovingly that Hovannisian “has achieved his goal of exploiting his own artificial problem to make his personality important and stay in the limelight.”
“He had as many as 11 years to defend his violated rights. Has the presidential hopeful just decided to wake up?” asks “Hayots Ashkhar.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” says other opposition candidates are impatiently awaiting Hovannisian’s exit from the race in the hope of winning his endorsement. But Hovannisian is in no rush to side with any of them for the moment. Citing his unnamed aides, the paper claims that the former minister does not intend to endorse anyone else. If he is officially considered to have been an Armenian national since 2001, he will also be unable to run not only in the May parliamentary elections but also in the 2008 presidential elections.
Pollster Gevorg Poghosian continues to make the point that no opposition leader stands a “serious chance” of winning the February 19 presidential election. “The main fight will be for the second and third places,” he tells “Hayots Ashkhar.” He says opposition parties view that as a springboard for a strong showing in the parliamentary elections.
According to “Yerkir,” the main election contenders are still not known and there are no signs of an impending heated election battle. This is so because many politicians with presidential ambitions lack the appropriate intellectual and personal qualities. The paper also quotes the parliamentary leader of the Dashnaktsutyun party, Aghvan Vartanian, as complaining that Armenia’s political system remains flawed and underdeveloped.