“Aravot” sees lots of similarities between the presidential elections in Azerbaijan and Armenia. “In the run-up to the elections Azerbaijani state television showed Ilham Aliev touring the country, opening factories and sport complexes, and that was accompanied by a voiceover saying that all of this is achieved thanks to Aliev’s policy. Besides, the pre-election propaganda machine portrayed Ilham Aliev as a man who better understands youth problems and creates new jobs,” the paper explains. Also, it says, the Azerbaijani opposition failed to agree on a single presidential candidate and pledged to unleash a campaign of street protests against electoral fraud.
“Aravot” says vote irregularities reported by the Azerbaijani opposition already on Wednesday (ballot box stuffing, ballot miscounting etc.) mirror the violations registered during the 2003 Armenian polls. And once again observers from the Commonwealth of Independent States described the vote as free and fair. The findings of their Western counterparts are likely to be diametrically opposite.
“Ayb-Fe” cites unnamed government sources in Washington as saying that the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process “will enter a new phase” after the Azerbaijani vote. “The U.S. expects that negotiations on the Karabakh issue will resume in November. One official, who spoke about the OSCE Minsk Group, noted that its co-chairs have done a good job in the last 18 months.” The paper says U.S. policy-makers feel that both the Armenian and Azerbaijani peoples believe time works in their favor and there is no need to settle the conflict rapidly.
“Golos Armenii” says the authorities need not worry about Friday’s anti-government rally because the Armenian opposition has never managed to force them to make even minor concessions under popular pressure. The papers says Armenia does not need such an opposition. “The opposition never came to power in the last 12 years not only because the authorities flouted the law but also because the opposition is always made up of the same people that are not taken seriously by the regime.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” comments on reports that the U.S. administration views closure of Armenia’s Metsamor nuclear power plant in the context of its global fight against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The paper claims that a senior U.S. diplomat warned Armenian leaders several months ago that if they hand Metsamor’s management to Russia, the U.S. “will have to take serious counter-measures.”
“Hayots Ashkhar” says the Armenian government refuses to officially comment on those reports. “We were told by the Energy Ministry that the issue is rather political and that only the ministry can officially comment on it. But the latter was extremely busy.” The paper says the reported U.S. stance is “not justified,” arguing that the Metsamor plant is under the permanent surveillance of international organizations and governments.