October 15, 2005
“Aravot” writes that all the three candidates running for mayor in the town of Aparan withdrew their nominations on Friday. Under the electoral code, the mayoral elections scheduled for October 23 will be considered invalid and new elections will be scheduled for November 22 by a corresponding decision of the regional governor. “According to our sources, this joint action of the rival candidates was caused by the recent Aparanian meeting held at Prosecutor-General Aghvan Hovsepian’s,” the paper writes.
Meanwhile, “Haykakan Zhamanak” calls these self-withdrawals ‘a demarche against Aghvan Hovsepian’.
“Aravot” prints an official note issued to Gyumri’s mayor Vardan Ghukasian based on official information of the military registration and enlistment office. According to this note, Vardan Ghukasian, liable for call-up, was discharged from military duty with a diagnosis of psychopathy. “Aravot” reminds that recently the mayor shot in a busy place in Gyumri from a gun belonging to him. Later Ghukasian was reported to have intentions to file a libel suit against “168 Zham” weekly newspaper reporter Arman Galoyan. In “Aravot’s” view, taking into consideration the Armenian reality, one can consider it quite natural that Vardan Ghukasian’s suit should be sustained, but, on the other hand, it looks at least strange that law-enforcers turn a blind eye on a documentally asserted “psychopath” and allows him to carry a gun. “Why?” the paper quieries, and gives a straightforward answer: “Because he is not simply a mayor, but is also the protégé of the authorities.”
“I don’t exclude that our campaign will be branched. We will divide the territory of the republic so that one should not hinder another with his campaign and everyone does their work,” Arshak Sadoyan tells “Hayots Ashkharh”.
“There are several directions in the opposition camp today to scuttle the referendum initiated by the authorities. Some of the opposition parties are active proponents of boycotting the referendum, others are urging people to go to the polling station and say ‘no’,” Arshak Sadoyan says in “Hayots Ashkharh”, presenting the viewpoint of his party – AzhD. “We represent a third direction as we want to present the contents [of the amendments] to the people and substantiate why they should not vote in favor of the constitutional changes.”
“Hayastani Hanrapetutiun” presents the opinion of head of the coalition’s referendum campaign headquarters Mher Shahgeldian. “The importance of the referendum for our country in terms of both domestic and foreign policies is obvious to all of us. Even our colleagues from the opposition admit that the draft is a step forward,” says Shahgeldian, noting: “Carrying out constitutional reforms is an important task, but another equally important task is holding the referendum in conformity with international standards.”
In “Golos Armenii’s” estimation, the choice of the top campaigner for the coalition only accentuates the great responsibility put on the party of the parliament speaker on the threshold of the referendum, giving it a leadership role in propaganda work.
According to “Haykakan Zhamanak’s” sources, the OSCE Minsk Group cochairmen have set a condition to the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan that a document about the settlement of the Karabakh conflict should be signed during 2006. “According to some information, Kocharian and Aliyev agreed to this condition,” the paper writes. “Our sources also suggest that a promise has been made to both sides that after signing a peace deal they will get investments and direct aid. In that case, around $10 billion are expected to be pumped into Armenia and Azerbaijan through different channels. The international community hasn’t forgotten about personal incentives to the presidents either,” continues “Haykakan Zhamanak”. “Besides getting lifetime guarantees of their security, there are also talks that in case of achieving a comprehensive settlement of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict the presidents will win Nobel peace prizes.”