“Aravot” says President Kocharian’s calls for greater political tolerance will fall on deaf ears as long as he makes offensive remarks about his political opponents. Most recently, Kocharian insulted the Russian lawyer of the late Vazgen Sarkisian’s family by describing him as a “tramp.” The paper believes that the opposition should not respond to that in the same fashion. And Kocharian, it says, should himself be more tolerant and open-minded just because he is more powerful.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” says Monday’s campaign trip to Aragatsotn province marked a “turning point” for opposition candidate Stepan Demirchian. The paper is impressed with the enthusiastic support he received there, saying that it proved wrong Kocharian’s allies who insist that there is no alternative to the incumbent. Unlike Kocharian, Demirchian does not have “administrative resources” to get the people to the streets, which testifies to his popularity.
“Orran” also draws readers’ attention to Demirchian’s latest campaign engagement. The paper, controlled by Raffi Hovannisian, says stories about the extent of public sympathy for Demirchian are not exaggerated. Ordinary people come to Demirchian rallies “with love.” “You can organize everything,” Demirchian tells the paper. “But you can not organize the people’s affection, expression of their eyes.” Asked about Kocharian’s calls for a constructive election campaign, Demirchian says the president should first “bring to account the scum surrounding him.”
Even the pro-Kocharian “Azg” admits that Demirchian has quite a few supporters. Reporting from the northern Noyemberian region, the paper says at least six local villagers are now preparing to slaughter sheep in Demirchian’s honor when they meet him soon. No one seems to be planning a similar tribute to Kocharian.
“Hayots Ashkhar” praises the Kocharian campaign, saying that it is well organized and calculated. The paper says the vast majority of other candidates are only “slandering, denigrating and attacking their single opponent” and thereby exposing their “own impotence.”
“Iravunk” says the “active and aggressive” style of Kocharian’s campaign suggests that he is “not quite confident of his victory.” “The main work is being done beyond those pre-election meetings and the incumbent president is pinning his hopes not on ballots cast in good faith, but on other ways of obtaining votes. Preparations are underway for activating massive fraud,” the paper claims. As for the 16-party opposition union, it is now busy working out anti-fraud mechanisms. If those mechanisms work, Kocharian will be in serious trouble, according to “Iravunk.”