“Yerkir” says the first days of the presidential election campaign have demonstrated that many presidential candidates are not prepared for it. Neither financially, nor ideologically. The Dashnaktsutyun weekly, which supports President Kocharian, attacks opposition candidates for spreading “fear, terror and gloom” among the voters by exploiting, among other things, the 1999 parliament shootings.
“Let’s work together. But with another president,” writes “Iravunk,” altering Kocharian’s campaign motto. “One can state that in case of Robert Kocharian’s reelection there will be no systemic changes. That means the quasi-criminal, clan-based and oligarchic system would stay intact. The rulers would remain corrupt, unpunished and beyond [public] control. There would be no real guarantees of the rule of law; freedom of speech would not be guaranteed; and nothing important would be done to combat [domestic] terrorism.” The pro-opposition paper claims that Kocharian stands no chance of winning a clean election.
“Hayots Ashkhar” sees a growing rift between Artashes Geghamian and his leftist allies. The paper quotes the second secretary of the Armenian Communist Party (HKK), Sanatruk Sahakian, as reaffirming his opposition to the HKK’s endorsement of Geghamian. Sahakian says the Communists must not have anything in common with Paruyr Hayrikian, who has also endorsed Geghamian.
Another opposition candidate, Vazgen Manukian, tells “Yerkir” that the Armenian presidential contenders must not show any disagreements on the Karabakh issue. “We may have differences between each other but should come up with a joint position on the Karabakh issue in front of the entire world,” he says.
“Orran” comments that Geghamian is desperate to see Stepan Demirchian and Hanrapetutyun’s Aram Sarkisian quit the race because it would be extremely difficult for him to make a strong showing otherwise. But the paper believes that Demirchian and Sarkisian have no reason to team up with Geghamian. The two men would rather cooperate with one another. “Orran,” which is controlled by Raffi Hovannisian, hints that the former foreign minister will throw his weight behind one of them.
Hovannisian’s spokesman, Ashot Aghababian, tells “Iravunk” that he will clarify his stance early next week. Hovannisian’s statement will come as a surprise to many Armenians, Aghababian says.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that Transport and Communications Minister Andranik Manukian told Armenian postal workers to vote for Kocharian at a special meeting on Thursday. The paper says Manukian’s efforts to help Kocharian violate Armenian law.
“Aravot” reports that the repeatedly delayed tender for several television frequencies will at last take place on January 31 and its winners are expected to be announced by February 4.