A leading member of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) tells “Hayots Ashkhar” that the past five years have born out the nationalist party’s decision to side with Robert Kocharian. Armen Rustamian says the 1998 change of regime has had a “great historic mission” that will allow Dashnaktsutyun to attain its aim of a “free, independent and united Armenia.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” expects that only four or five presidential candidates will be left in contention before the February 19 vote. It is now evident, the paper says, that there will be three main contenders: Kocharian, Stepan Demirchian and Artashes Geghamian. It says Geghamian may have secured the important backing of the Armenia Communist Party, but has yet to win over the majority of an estimated 50,000 Communists. As for Demirchian, his aides now hope that another prominent oppositionist, Vazgen Manukian, will drop out of the campaign in the HZhK leader’s favor. “However, Manukian’s entourage explicitly rules out the possibility that Manukian’s political ambitions will let him support any of the existing candidates.
“Aravot” carries the results of a new opinion poll conducted in Yerevan by the Vox Populi polling center. According to them, Kocharian continues to lead the race with a 22 percent rating, followed by Demirchian (9 percent) and Geghamian (3 percent). More than 28 percent of respondents said they have not yet decided for whom they will vote.
Another poll cited by “Haykakan Zhamanak” paints a very similar picture. According to it, Kocharian has 25 percent in Yerevan. Demirchian is again a distant second with 11.5 percent, while Geghamian has about 10 percent. The pollsters also say that Raffi Hovannisian’s approval ratings have fallen “drastically” after he was barred from running for president. His supporters are already lending their support to other opposition hopefuls, notably Vazgen Manukian and Aram Karapetian.
“Aravot” reports that the Armenian Review Court on Friday upheld a lower court ruling obligating the state commission on broadcasting to accept the Noyan Tapan television station’s bid for an air frequency. The paper says this means that the delayed tender for several frequencies may take place as early as on February 1.
In any case, says “Haykakan Zhamanak,” the authorities have succeeded in keeping A1+ and Noyan Tapan off the air during the presidential elections. Armenian television viewers will thus not get a balanced and objective coverage of the polls.