In an interview with “Orran,” Ararat governor Alik Sarkisian denies telling “Haykakan Zhamanak” the previous day that if opposition candidate Aram Sarkisian visits the provincial town of Artashat, his security will not be guaranteed. He says he also did not say that the candidate’s visit to Artashat could lead to bloodshed.
But according to “Haykakan Zhamanak,” the pro-Kocharian governor is simply trying to retract his scandalous comments. The paper insists that it quoted him verbatim.
“Orran” says the authorities are “committing one mistake after another.” “Their potential for threats and blackmail will soon be depleted,” the paper says.
Transport and Communications Minister Andranik Manukian tells “Aravot” that he is agitating for Kocharian as a private individual, not as a member of the government. “I know the laws very well and have never engaged in propaganda in agencies subordinated to me,” Manukian says, adding that he has a constitutional right to “tell people the truth” when being off duty.
“Aravot” notes that Kocharian has an undisputed advantage over other presidential candidates by virtue of being an incumbent. “The president combines his self-advertising with his presidential duties: he cuts red tapes and lights torches,” the paper writes in an editorial.
Of all opposition candidates Stepan Demirchian continues to get the most extensive media coverage. “Haykakan Zhamanak” describes his campaign as a “triumph.”
But “Hayots Ashkhar” is unimpressed, saying that campaign ads aired by all opposition candidates are equally primitive. “The people, the television viewers have gotten tired of the repetition of those triumphant speeches and slander and gossips.” The paper also warns voters that if an opposition candidate jointly nominated by most opposition parties is elected president, Armenia will have an unstable and “multi-polar” government.
Another opposition candidate, Garnik Markarian, tells “Ayb-Fe” that Artashes Geghamian is best placed to be the single opposition contender. He also denies persisting rumors about Geghamian’s secret ties with Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian. He says the rumors are spread by Sarkisian and Kocharian with the aim of deepening differences among the opposition parties.