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Press Review


“Aravot” notes that judging from the composition of his campaign headquarters, Robert Kocharian is in control of all resources available in Armenia. But that is by no means the case, the paper says. The conference hall of the Armenian National Academy of Sciences, which was packed with Kocharian supporters on Tuesday, would have been filled up by numerous government officials, politicians and even artists even if the incumbent was a different person. “It’s just that the majority of the audience likes to be close to the leadership for its own benefit. For that majority, Kocharian’s reelection is no more important than the issue of not losing their positions.”

“Ayb-Fe” says Kocharian began his reelection campaign long before January 21 with his frequent public appearances. And although he insists that the Armenian media have simply informed the public about the president’s work, the paper takes the view that election coverage by the TV stations is extremely one-sided.

According to “Hayots Ashkhar,” most Armenians do not think that socioeconomic improvements require a regime change. “Therefore, the escalation of the political situation and the resulting consolidation of the opposition around a leader keen to go on offensive may drive part of the protest electorate toward the government’s candidate preferring an evolutionary change of the situation.”

“Orran” says that most supporters of Raffi Hovannisian will cast their ballots in the presidential elections despite the authorities’ refusal to register him. At least, it says, none of them will go to the polls to vote for Kocharian. “By blocking Raffi Hovannisian, Robert Kocharian did not lessen his troubles,” the paper says, adding that the outcome of the vote now greatly depends on whom Hovannisian will endorse. The candidate who wins that endorsement will get elected, according to “Orran.”

“Aravot,” meanwhile, doubts, the sincerity of opposition leader Artashes Geghamian’s anti-government rhetoric. Geghamian said back in 1998 that Kocharian was elected president in a fair contest only to declare in September 2002 that the real winner of the vote was the late Karen Demirchian. “I wonder if Mr. Geghamian will again become an enthusiastic supporter of the president during the next five-year period,” comments the paper’s editor, Aram Abrahamian.

“Haykakan Zhamanak” claims that some of the presidential candidates have joined the race on the authorities’ orders. Their mission is to steal votes from the main opposition candidates. They “don’t care how much money will be wasted on their campaigns.” “They will spend as much as the authorities will give them,” the paper says without naming names.

(Hrach Melkumian)
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