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Press Review


"Iravunk" comments that the main political parties supporting President Kocharian are increasingly outspoken in attacking each during the ongoing parliamentary election campaign. Republican leader Galust Sahakian, for example, has called rival pro-Kocharian forces "courtesans," while the latter are at pain to disavow any responsibility for government policies. "That the pro-government forces fail to reach agreement is also evident from the fact that the Central Election Commission unexpectedly reverted to transparent ballot boxes, agreeing to separate ballot boxes for the referendum and the elections of the National Assembly," the paper says. It alleges that Kocharian, Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian and other Armenian leaders simply could not agree on ballot box stuffing "proportions."

"Hayots Ashkhar" also discusses the growing discord among the pro-presidential parties, saying that they are "losing their nerve." The paper says they can not resist the temptation to score points in the upcoming elections by resorting to "populist opposition" rhetoric. The people, however, will hardly buy it as remember very well "who is who, said what two months ago and was friends with whom."

"Yerkir" also urges the election contenders not to say "primitive lies" for winning votes and adhere instead to "political correctness." The paper controlled by the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) notes at the same time the electoral lists of some parties comprise corrupt government officials and businesspeople who must not be allowed to get into the new parliament. The paper goes on to launch a thinly veiled attack on Galust Sahakian and other Republican leaders, saying that they further their personal self-interest under the guise of grandiose nationalist rhetoric.

"This regime will not live long," opposition leader Aram Sarkisian tells "Orran." He accuses pro-presidential forces of misleading the electorate with campaign ads that leave the false impression that they are in opposition to the ruling regime. Sarkisian also sees growing "hatred and bitterness" among ordinary people towards the political class. "Free and fair elections are not possible in Armenia," he says. "But even in that case, the Artarutyun alliance will have a serious representation in the parliament."

"We expect to have at least one third of seats in the National Assembly so that we can put any issue on the agenda," another opposition leader, Albert Bazeyan, tells "Haykakan Zhamanak." Bazeyan also says that Dashnaktsutyun will fail to replace the Republican Party as the number one "party of power."

But according to "Aravot," the Republicans are now in an "unenviable position." They may be wielding sweeping government levers, but that is not a guarantee of electoral victory. "The Republican Party is today very vulnerable," the paper says. "It gets blows both from the right and the left."

(Vache Sarkisian)
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