“Hayots Ashkhar” continues to attack the two main opposition candidates, Stepan Demirchian and Artashes Geghamian. The paper says there is “nothing real” in their campaign platforms and wonders why Geghamian “changes his political allies so often” and stands for Armenia’s accession to the Russia-Belarus union. “Why hasn’t Geghamian proposed any legislation during his four-year term in the parliament?” As for Demirchian, the paper claims that he avoids mentioning the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and Armenian foreign policy in his campaign speeches. “How is it that Stepan did not attend any military courses but got an officer’s rank?” it adds.
“Hayots Ashkhar” also takes the view that the Armenian opposition’s failure to put forward a single candidate marked its “serious political defeat.” “As things stand now, only one question remains unanswered: Who will occupy the second place and become the leader of the opposition?” the paper concludes.
Another pro-presidential newspaper, “Golos Armenii,” presents a similar analysis of the situation. It claims that if the presidential elections require is a run-off, most members of the 16-party opposition coalition will back Kocharian, not his challenger.
“Aravot” says it was clear from the outset that Demirchian and Geghamian will not put aside their “overwhelming ambitions” and withdraw from the campaign in each other’s favor. “Judging from the official propaganda, the fact that there will be no single opposition candidate has upset Robert Kocharian’s entourage as well, because the existence of nine candidates, three of whom have fairly high ratings, could mean that the presidential elections will not end in one round,” the paper writes.
“In reality, the opposition has united and the opposition’s joint candidate is Stepan Demirchian,” writes “Orran.” The paper, controlled by Raffi Hovannisian, says the authorities should already brace for their defeat and start to “pack up.” Especially after Hovannisian’s endorsement of Demirchian.
“Ayb-Fe” also considers Demirchian the single candidate. “The warm receptions gets in the regions [outside Yerevan] proves that there is an alternative force very capable of defeating the current regime,” the paper says.
“Iravunk” says there is one good thing about the existence of several opposition candidates: “the abundance of teams monitoring the elections.” The paper finds this will be very important for thwarting “anticipated large-scale irregularities.” “The vast majority of voters treats with absolute distrust the false figures of economic growth and even more false opinion polls giving Kocharian high ratings,” the paper says.
According to an opinion poll cited “Aravot,” Kocharian and Demirchian have almost equal ratings hovering between 22 and 23 percent in Yerevan. Another poll conducted this week by the independent Center for Election Techniques puts Kocharian on 24 percent and Demirchian on 15 percent. The two men are followed by Geghamian who has 10 percent, reports “Haykakan Zhamanak.”
A survey by the pro-Kocharian Logos organization, also published by “Aravot,” draws a very different picture. It gives Kocharian 43 percent and puts Geghamian in the second place with 24 percent. Demirchian, according to Logos, is trailing them with a 19 percent approval rating.