(Saturday, October 30)
According to an opinion poll published in “Aravot,” if fresh presidential elections took place in Armenia now only 43 percent of Yerevan residents would participate in them. About 15 percent of respondents would vote for President Robert Kocharian, while opposition leaders Stepan Demirchian and Raffi Hovannisian would get 9.5 percent and 6 percent respectively. Parliament speaker Artur Baghdasarian is in fourth place with 5 percent. He is followed by Artashes Geghamian, Vazgen Manukian and Levon Ter-Petrosian.
Another opposition politician, Aram Karapetian, is derided by “Hayastani Hanrapetutyun” and “Azg” for threatening to bring about a “revolution” in Armenia at Friday’s conference of his Nor Zhamanakner (New Times) party. Both papers draw parallels between his speech and the discourse of Soviet-era Communist leaders.
“The most pathetic is the aim of Karapetian’s imaginary revolution,” “Haykakan Zhamanak” joins in the chorus of criticism. “For as it turns out, no change of the president is envisaged to come about as a result of that revolution.” The paper speculates that Karapetian may be secretly furthering the agenda of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation which is unhappy with the extent of its presence in government but can not openly demand fresh parliamentary elections.
Armenia’s Ambassador to Ukraine, former parliament speaker Armen Khachatrian, comments in “Haykakan Zhamanak” on the weekend presidential election in Ukraine. He says that like in Armenia the presidential candidates there have saved no effort to discredit and denigrate each other. “It’s just that the scales are different,” he says. “In Ukraine, which has a population of 50 million, you can’t enter every village and hand out $10 to every villager [as a vote bribe]. But of course, every electoral technique is being applied. Not to mention populist promises which all candidates voice day and night.”
Deputy parliament speaker Tigran Torosian tells “Hayots Ashkhar” that a possible UN General Assembly debate and decisions on the Armenian-occupied territories of Azerbaijan could have implications for the Council of Europe’s stance on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Torosian argues that Council of Europe Secretary General Terry Davis’s report on Karabakh, strongly criticized by Armenia, had references to the UN Security Council resolutions on the conflict. Torosian hopes that a possible UN document will not have similar “negative connotations.”