“What is now called opposition in Armenia is very reminiscent of non-governing parties that operated during [Communist] times in Poland or East Germany,” editorializes “Aravot.” “The mechanism for elections has remained essentially the same. In particular, on May 12 mainly those have already been bribed by Kocharian-appointed parties will go to the polls. The other voters will simply not go.”
“Hayots Ashkhar” predicts an “exceptionally difficult and nervous” year for Armenia. “Although the authorities are at pains to show that everything is going according to their plan, somehow that does not eliminate worries,” the paper writes in an editorial. “Even in centuries-old established democracies parliamentary elections can turn into crisis. And for Armenia, every election is essentially a survival exam. As a consequence of the absence of clarity on issues of vital importance, rival [Armenia] factions are bickering in darkness.”
“Attention! The HHK’s doors are closing,” reads a headline in “Iravunk.” The paper reports that Prime Minister Andranik Markarian and Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian are busy drawing up the electoral list of their party and trying to make sure they don’t upset many Republicans and at the same time please Kocharian. It claims that party figures are now trying to secretly undermine each other. “Those Republicans who have already secured Serzh Azatovich’s go-ahead are hanging around, giving advice to those who are in trouble and doing charitable work.”
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” presents the following synopsis of the political situation in Armenia: “A group of people has seized power and is enjoying its benefits, while several groups of other people are trying to wrest that power from them and enjoy it by themselves.” The paper says the Armenian opposition can defeat the regime only if “opposition mentality” prevails in the country. “But unfortunately, such mentality is virtually non-existent. And that is the reason why even the most hard-line oppositionists take money from the authorities every so often.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” says that Gagik Tsarukian will find himself at loggerheads with another oligarch, Hrant Vartanian, during the parliamentary elections. The paper explains that Vartanian’s son Mikael plans on standing in a single-mandate constituency in northern Armenia which was “reserved” for Tsarukian’s Prosperous Armenia party. “A pretty fierce struggle is expected there,” it says.