A weekly opinion poll by the Vox Populi organization published in “Aravot” claims a sharp decrease in Robert Kocharian’s popularity among voters in Yerevan. Only 22 percent of about 700 respondents said they will vote for Kocharian, This is 7 percent less than was reported last week. Opposition leader Stepan Demirchian, by contrast, continues to gain ground and, according to the survey, now boasts a 15 percent rating. Artashes Geghamian is in the third place with 7 percent. Still, about half of the respondents believe that Kocharian will win the election. Only between 2 and 3 percent of them expect Demirchian’s or Geghamian’s victory.
“Haykakan Zhamanak,” meanwhile, carries the results of another opinion poll conducted by the pro-opposition Tanik organization. According to them, Kocharian has 23 percent, only 1 percent more than Demirchian. Geghamian is again in third place with about 12 percent. The pollsters also claim that only Demirchian can potentially beat Kocharian in the event of a second round.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” also covers Friday’s opposition rally in Artashat under the
following pretentious headline: “Robert Kocharian suffered a crushing defeat in Artashat.” The paper claims that at least 13,000 people attended the rally -- a very large number for a small town.
“Orran” has similar estimates. “Nobody was forced, constrained, threatened or forcibly taken to that meeting yesterday. Nor was anyone scared.” The paper says that even some police officers guarding the rally applauded opposition speakers.
But according to “Azg,” only 2,800 opposition supporters gathered in Artashat. The paper says some of them were bused from nearby villages.
“Hayots Ashkhar” quotes several provincial governors as saying that the situation in their regions is not tense. They say Kocharian has ordered them to ensure equal campaigning conditions for all presidential candidates.
“There is more tension on television air and newspaper pages than in real life,” the parliamentary leader of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun), Aghvan Vartanian, tells “Hayots Ashkhar.” “The situation is much calmer. It’s just there is a lot of unsubstantiated noise.” Vartanian continues to believe that Kocharian can win outright in the first round if his campaign team does not commit blunders.
“Aravot” reports that the head of Yerevan’s southern Erebuni district, Mher Sedrakian, on Friday campaigned for Kocharian, in of the local schools. “He will win in any case,” Sedrakian told the teachers bluntly. “We should ourselves elect him so that everybody knows that the people of Erebuni are nice, that they have a good district chief, circle of friends and understand things correctly…And let our president think that Erebuni is one of his royal neighborhoods. He will definitely think so because he does realize that.” Otherwise, Sedrakian warned, the local population will not be able to “walk with their heads up.”