“Aravot” comments mockingly on President Kocharian’s decision to set up a commission to investigate allegations of vote rigging. “Those guilty of fraud will definitely be identified and strictly punished in accordance with the law because that is demanded by Western bosses,” the paper writes. “But the latter should not be surprised if the commission concludes ten days later that only opposition representatives were involved in the vote irregularities.” The paper claims that Kocharian is simply pretending to investigate domestic and international reports that marred his reelection.
“Hayots Ashkhar” is disappointed with the long list of candidates running in the parliamentary elections. The paper says the party lists are full of politicians that have long “bored” Armenians and carry very few new names. It also says the authorities are contesting the elections with a “broad front.” While primarily relying on the governing Republican Party, they also want to get “four or five” other pro-presidential parties into the parliament. This strategy bodes well for political stability in Armenia.
“Azg” says the opposition’s decision to form a single electoral alliance was a “surprise.” “They clearly beat all expectations,” the paper says, adding that political forces supporting Kocharian failed to display such unity. “In effect, by contesting the elections separately the pro-government forces realize that they will be fighting each other along with the opposition. And that is the best way of stealing votes from each other and the best weapon for the opposition.”
According to “Orran,” the abundance of pro-Kocharian parties running for the parliament shows just how deep are the differences amongst themselves. They may have worked together in “falsifying” the latest presidential election, will now have to “work against each other more vehemently than against the opposition.” Those parties, the paper claims, committed “electoral crimes” in the presidential election and will not hesitate to repeat them in May.
“Hayastani Hanrapetutyun” says the “politically unemployed” Armenian opposition is “ready to perform any work” to continue its existence. The arrest of Armen Sarkisian provided it with a new reason for “splitting the society.”
“Aravot” says that the Armenian courts and law-enforcement bodies mainly do three things: “fabricate cases, forcibly extort confessions from detainees and take bribes.” “There is no public trust in those bodies,” the paper writes, casting doubt on the credibility of the criminal case against Sarkisian. “According to publicized materials of the case, Armen Sarkisian nearly posted an announcement in a newspaper to hire killers…Is it possible for the killer to keep his weapon for several months after the crime? Is it possible for a sensible person to hire his relatives rather than people from abroad to carry out a contract murder?”
But as “Hayots Ashkhar” counters, the fact that the suspect is a brother of the late Vazgen Sarkisian should not be taken as a presumption of innocence. The paper claims that Kocharian’s opponents were interested in eliminating state television chief Tigran Naghdalian in order to deprive the president of a “powerful propaganda base” in the run-up to the election.