“Aravot” comments that the Armenian authorities’ hopes that the elections in Azerbaijan will be even more fraudulent than the Armenian elections and that the West will consequently look more kindly at Yerevan have been dashed. The paper predicts that the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe will apply “the same tone” to Armenia and Azerbaijan when it discusses political reform in the entire South Caucasus in January. “So it is meaningless to justify our mistakes with more grave mistakes committed by others,” it says.
In a separate commentary, “Aravot” says the authorities should not have beefed up security around President Robert Kocharian’s palace during Friday’s opposition rally because it posed no threat to them. “The experience of the previous 12 years suggests that a government in Armenia will not be changed as a result of demonstrations or revolutions in the foreseeable future. Nor will the government change as a result of elections because elections, in their Western, European sense, are not and will not be held in our country just like in Azerbaijan. The only means of regime change in Armenia is a palace coup. But there are no visible signs of it at the moment.”
But according to “Iravunk,” there is a hidden “strong tension” in the Armenian political arena. The main source of that tension, it says, is continuing bickering within the government ranks which might flare up into an open confrontation as early as this winter.
“The opposition leaders have become, all of a sudden, aggressive, self-confident and impatient,” writes “Hayots Ashkhar.” The paper speculates that the opposition counts on far-reaching geopolitical developments in the region. The United States, it says, is intent on establishing military presence in Azerbaijan to step up pressure on Iran. This would “radically change the already difficult geopolitical position of Armenia.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports on the intensifying war of words between the incumbent head of Yerevan’s Ajapnyak district, Artsrun Khachatrian, and the Republican Party’s Arman Sahakian. The two men will face each other in the November 2 local election. Sahakian’s father Galust, who heads the Republican faction in parliament, brands Khachatrian a “half-educated person” who wants to discredit his son. “The reality is that Arman Sahakian is fighting against someone who has managed to completely discredit the post of prefect,” he says. Responding to Khachatrian’s allegation that the Sahakian family wants to buy control of the Ajapnyak administration, Galust Sahakian says: “That we have lots of money is beyond doubt. That is a result of our fair work.” Sahakian also denies that his son was involved in a shoot-out that disrupted a 1999 election in the same district. The main contenders at the time were Khachatrian and Sahakian’s brother-in-law, Ashot Aghababian.
In an interview with “Iravunk,” Khachatrian insists that Arman Sahakian opened fire on his supporters in 1999. He call on political parties not to support the Republican candidate.