“Aravot” claims that Robert Kocharian’s campaign headquarters is “in panic,” with many local government heads complaining that “it is impossible to work in the second round the way they did in the first round” because they can not save him with ballot box stuffing and because voters have learned that they can take a vote bribe and vote for an opposition candidate. The paper says the local bosses also feel that domestic and international election observers stand in the way of vote manipulation.
“Orran” says the fact that Kocharian is now personally inspecting his campaign offices testifies to the mood of “panic” among his loyalists. The paper speculates that Kocharian is keen to avert “sabotage” and mass defections from his ranks. “Why don’t you punish the fraudsters, whoever they are?” it asks the authorities.
“Ayb-Fe” reports that government ministers, whose resignation is demanded by the opposition, deny committing any vote irregularities. “In my opinion, I work very well and am not going to tender my resignation,” says Minister for Local Government Hovik Abrahamian. “Why are they demanding my resignation?”
Gagik Minasian, a senior parliamentarian affiliated with the governing Republican Party, explains to “Hayots Ashkhar” why Kocharian’s top allies believe that the incumbent will win reelection. Minasian says many Kocharian supporters did not bother to vote in the first round because they were confident of his victory. They will definitely go to the polls this time. Minasian also forecasts that most of those who voted for Artashes Geghamian will not turn out for the March 5 run-off.
“Yerkir” says the opposition is campaigning for Demirchian as if it is conducting a guerilla warfare. The weekly paper also sees serious differences among opposition forces grouped around Demirchian. It says Demirchian stands no chance of winning the presidency.
“Iravunk” charges that Kocharian’s allies “deeply hate” the country’s population and are trying to cling to power “at any cost.” The paper predicts that there will be more numerous attempts at ballot box stuffing on March 5. Opposition proxies and members of election commissions are due to be “isolated” before voting day. “In this situation, the opposition might indeed boycott the second round,” it writes. The authorities, the paper says, do not want to back off because many of senior government officials would face punishment in the event of a Demirchian win. Opposition is likewise reluctant to quit the race because it could face “destruction.” “Bridges have been born from both sides, and dialogue is practically impossible,” “Iravunk” concludes.