“Aravot” says that even in Western democracies election candidates spend much of their time attacking rivals. Armenians should therefore not be upset with the mudslinging they have seen in the last four weeks. More negative, according to the paper, is the fact that Armenian presidential candidates prefer televised monologues to face-to-face debates.
“Hayots Ashkhar” says the election campaign has not engendered new ideas and programs. “The campaigning was just a big noise, a huge show,” the paper writes. It has only demonstrated the absence of a credible alternative to the current Armenian leadership.
“Orran” says February 19 will be a rare occasion for ordinary people to have a say in their country’s political life. “A serious test is awaiting us on February. We must be able to tell everyone that we deserve a free election, freedom in general and independence in particular. Let us not allow certain people, certain groups to elect a president for themselves with our votes,” the paper says.
According to “Iravunk,” a run-off vote is inevitable even in the event of “massive falsifications.” “We can only hope that voting will proceed peacefully, that there will be no clashes and violence, and that the people will decide to actively participate in the elections,” it says.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” and some other papers claim that there are growing reports from various regions of government officials distributing ballots, marked in favor of “one candidate” (presumably Kocharian), to individual voters and heads of precinct commissions. But the Central Election Commission has denied the reports.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that the ruling board of the Yerkrapah Union decided that it will not support any of the presidential candidates at a special meeting on Saturday. One of the board members, Miasnik Malkhasian, tells the paper that Yerkrapah will not support or condone any attempts to manipulate the ballot. “Yerkrapah is obliged to protect the people’s will,” he says.
“Orran,” meanwhile, quotes Russia’s ambassador to Armenia Anatoly Dryukov, as saying that “the results of the presidential elections will not change the quality of Russian-Armenian relations.”