“Aravot” devotes an editorial to the announcement of an electoral alliance between the Dashnaktsutyun party and “palace businessman” Hrant Vartanian. “The oligarch operating under the tutelage of the presidential administration would hardly take such a step without personally consulting with Kocharian. Naturally, someone who produces cigarettes and candy can not enter politics for altruistic considerations. In return for getting distracted from his immediate job, he gets privileges for his business.” The paper says that the “Dashnak-tobacco union” could become “the main party of power,” pointing to the fact that Kocharian’s chief of staff, Artashes Tumanian, is third in its list of its candidates.
“Aravot” also claims that the Dashnaks and Prime Minister Andranik Markarian’s Republicans are “doomed to compete” with each other in the May parliamentary elections. “That competition will be not for people’s votes -- the presidential elections have demonstrated that our rulers are extremely indifferent to that factor -- but for getting even deeper into Kocharian’s pockets,” the paper writes. “In the end, Kocharian will fix numbers for everyone.”
“Iravunk” says the electoral slates of pro-Kocharian parties will be full of “nicknamed guys and oligarchic elements.” They will perform the role of “locomotives” for those parties.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” says the Republicans are doing everything to force Dashnaktsutyun and Orinats Yerkir to “content themselves with as many parliament mandates as was planned by Prime Minister Andranik Markarian’s party.” The paper claims that Markarian does not want them to get more than 8 percent of parliament seats. As for the Demirchian-led opposition, the paper believes that it will repeat the 1999 electoral success of the former Miasnutyun bloc in the event of free and fair elections. “Therefore, the authorities will face a difficult and grueling mission of vote rigging on May 25 as well.”
“Orran” also thinks that opposition chances of victory are “very big” and that the authorities “will once again do what they are used to.”
“Yerkir” views the upcoming elections as a “choice between money and bribes and ideas and programs.” They are also a chance for Armenia to improve its image abroad seriously tarnished by the presidential election, the paper says.
“Iravunk” says the ongoing anti-government demonstrations create a “positive environment” for the opposition campaign.” “One should not rule out the possibility that mass protests will break the [current] atmosphere and will substantially weaken the factor of administrative resources and vote bribes,” the paper writes.