“Hayastani Komunist” carries an official statement by Communist Party (HKK) leader Vladimir Darpinian in which he announces the withdrawal of his presidential candidacy in support of Artashes Geghamian. Darpinian urges other opposition candidates to follow suit. “Being with Artashes Geghamian means being an architect of our future statehood, an author of radical transformations and means jointly dealing with challenges facing the fatherland,” Darpinian says.
“Yerkir” thinks that many Communists will not forgive Darpinian this “opportunism” and predicts “new sanctions in the ranks of the HKK.”
Pollster Gevorg Poghosian continues to make the point that Robert Kocharian has a huge advantage over his challengers. In an interview with “Hayastani Hanrapetutyun,” Poghosian again says that the main struggle is unfolding between Stepan Demirchian and Geghamian for the second place.
According to “Haykakan Zhamanak,” the governor of the southern Armavir province, Albert Heroyan, has told the government in Yerevan that “he is no longer able to control the pre-election situation in his region and is ready to resign.” “This happened after Albert Heroyan failed to disrupt campaign rallies in Armavir by a number of opposition candidates despite orders from above and his own desire,” the paper claims.
“Hayots Ashkhar” reports that the situation in the town of Artashat is calm and stable despite opposition claims of the contrary. People there are going about their business and have no worries about further violent incidents in campaign rallies to be held in Artashat by the opposition. The provincial governor, Alik Sarkisian, vows to be “more attentive” in the future. “I try to personally oversee the work of competent bodies,” he assures the paper.
“Yerkir” calls on all presidential candidates to adhere to fair play in their campaign engagements. The paper specifically criticizes opposition leaders for “exploiting” this week’s violent incident in Artashat. It says it is also wrong to portray the incident as an “insignificant episode” of the campaigning.
“Iravunk” alleges that “the Artashat provocation” was organized by one of the government factions supporting Kocharian. “The behavior of the law-enforcement bodies shows that they have been tasked with sponsoring criminals and covering up [election-related] crimes,” the paper writes. It claims that local authorities in various parts of Armenia “organize meetings of criminal elements and give them orders on how to disrupt opposition candidates’ campaigns and terrorize the population.” “But we are convinced that all this will have opposite effects. This atmosphere will disappoint even those who sincerely wish to vote for Robert Kocharian,” the paper concludes.