“Hayots Ashkhar” reports that President Robert Kocharian does not intend to run for a third term in office in 2008, attributing the information to sources in the presidential administration. He is also “not in a hurry to choose a successor and is going to name him in the run-up to the next elections in 2008,” according to the pro-Kocharian daily.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that former President Levon Ter-Petrosian met with a senior Italian government official on Tuesday. The meeting with Pietro Ago, Italy’s former ambassador to the Council of Europe, took place at the Italian embassy in Yerevan. “The meeting shows that the process of Ter-Petrosian’s political activation is continuing,” comments the paper. “The West is showing interest in Ter-Petrosian because it wants to understand how prepared he is to serve as an alternative to Kocharian.” The paper says Ter-Petrosian tells Western envoys that “he is prepared to return to politics if he feels confident that he can win in free and fair elections.”
“Azg” says, meanwhile, that its correspondents interviewed 30 people on the streets of Yerevan and none of them was positive about Ter-Petrosian’s possible political comeback.
“Hayots Ashkhar” continues to claim that Ter-Petrosian and his allies are tasked by the West with destabilizing the political situation in Armenia. But the paper is confident that “the existing thick swamp has no potential to engender a storm.”
In an interview with “Aravot,” opposition leader Aram Sarkisian disagrees with those who believe that the Armenian opposition failed to win Western support last spring because, unlike its counterparts in Georgia and Ukraine, it was just as pro-Russian as the government. “I am far from thinking that the West supports democracy only after receiving assurances that we are with them,” he says. “The West always supports democracy, while Russia during the last hundred years has constantly supported those individuals who are not accepted by the people and has lost as a result.”
Sarkisian believes that the spring events in Armenia contributed to the West’s tough stance on the post-election turmoil in Ukraine. He claims that the Armenian opposition will get the same degree of support from Europe and the United States if it again tries to unseat Kocharian. He also hints that the success of such a campaign hinges on external financial support. “Politics involving broad public masses requires very serious sums. External support and financial means are interconnected.”
Another prominent oppositionist, former Foreign Minister Aleksandr Arzumanian, also believes that the events in Ukraine will have a positive impact on democratization processes in Armenia and other ex-Soviet republics. He tells “Haykakan Zhamanak” that it is the people on the ground, not foreign powers, that make history. “I don’t quite believe in conspiracy theories,” he says.