“Hayots Ashkhar” says Wednesday’s presidential election in Azerbaijan may have a “considerable impact” on the resumption of peace negotiations on Nagorno-Karabakh. The paper says foreign powers and international observers are primarily interested in knowing how long it will take the Azerbaijani regime to reassert itself after Heydar Aliev’s exit and concentrate on the peace process. At first glance, it says, turmoil in Azerbaijan might be good for Armenia because it would make the Azerbaijanis forget Karabakh for a while. However, an unstable Azerbaijan would still be a threat to the Armenian side as Ilham Aliev might try to change the status quo in Karabakh to deflect public anger with his leadership.
“The Armenian authorities pin great hopes on the elections in Azerbaijan,” writes “Haykakan Zhamanak.” “They hope that the Azerbaijani elections will follow a disgraceful scenario, against the background of which the February-May 2003 elections held in Armenia will be seen as free, fair and transparent.” Those hopes are “not groundless,” the paper says. Nonetheless, it says, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe may well decide to sanction both Armenia and Azerbaijan at its next session in January.
In an interview with “Hayots Ashkhar,” parliament vice-speaker Tigran Torosian attacks the Armenian opposition for branding the National Assembly as an illegitimate body and at the same time participating in its sessions. “This is just not logical, because if you work [with the parliament], then what is the point of raising the issue of legitimacy?” he says. Torosian also denounces opposition plans to hold more anti-government rallies. “If the opposition wants regime change, it should show the society concrete ways of achieving that,” he says, adding that the only way to do that is elections that have already taken place in Armenia this year.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that preparations for Friday’s opposition rally were discussed on Tuesday by the leaders of the Artarutyun bloc. The paper says they anticipate that the demonstration will draw a large crowd.
“Aravot” expresses regret at a rift inside Armenia’s coalition over the government bill on mass media. The paper agrees with those journalist organizations that said in a statement this week that the bill should not be “held hostage to political intrigues.” But it says the statement added to the tensions and urges the rival camps to work together in defending the freedom of speech in Armenia.
In an interview with “Azg,” prominent tycoon Gagik Tsarukian confirms reports that he is set to purchase a major share in the private ALM television station. Asked if he is really Armenia’s richest man, Tsarukian replies: “Maybe. But perhaps there are people who have more [wealth] but hide it. I don’t hide what I have because everything I do is for my honor, my country and my people.”