Citing unnamed “diplomatic sources,” “Iravunk” reports that President Robert Kocharian discussed Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian’s presidential ambitions during his latest visit to Moscow. The paper claims that Kocharian received assurances that Russia will not be helping Sarkisian to win the 2008 presidential election. This, it says, “should further accelerate Robert Kocharian’s actions against [Sarkisian’s] renewed HHK.” “All of that shows that the time for the super-minister’s political exit seems to be coming up … And on that issue Russia has a very pragmatic motive. For Robert Kocharian’s latest visit seems to be marking the beginning of the end of the [Armenian] complementarity.”
“In essence, all parties are thinking not about the question of what new ideas and political programs they will propose to the country and the people but about who will contest the elections with whom,” “Hayots Ashkhar” comments on the unfolding preparations for the Armenian parliamentary elections.
“What is easier?” asks “Aravot.” “To create a viable political system where competition centers on programs and ideas or to break up opposition parties through intrigues so that the choice is made between two-and-a-half pro-government forces? The former is not only difficult but extremely disadvantageous for the authorities.”
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” sees efforts to form a pro-Russian electoral alliance of “false opposition parties” loyal to President Robert Kocharian. The paper says the alliance could include the Nor Zhamanakner (New Times) party, the Union for Constitutional Rights, the Dashink party of Samvel Babayan, the former Karabakh army commander, and even the former parliament speaker Artur Baghdasarian’s Orinats Yerkir. It predicts that they could finish third in the 2007 polls. “In a word, Samvel Babayan is mobilizing an army. More precisely, a militia.”
According to “Haykakan Zhamanak,” a recent U.S.-funded opinion poll found that most Armenians expect election candidates to be honest and objective have a democratic mindset.