“Hayots Ashkhar” says that the governing Republican Party’s main election rival is the Prosperous Armenia Party of Gagik Tsarukian. “This means that all other parties have to build their strategy by keeping in mind not one but two centers of power,” explains the paper, predicting a multitude of “confrontations” in the run-up to the forthcoming parliamentary elections.
“Aravot” has commissioned and presents an opinion poll in Yerevan that was aimed at determining the most popular opposition parties. The paper says almost half of respondents said they do not see any opposition party at all. Others mentioned Orinats Yerkir, the People’s Party of Armenia, the National Unity Party and even Prosperous Armenia. The latter was described as an opposition force by 5.6 percent of those polled. Most respondents also said they would like the opposition to form a united front for the elections.
Forty percent, continues “Aravot,” believe that none of the existing oppositionists is capable of leading such an alliance. Former parliament speaker Artur Baghdasarian had the highest approval rating for that role: 12.2 percent. He is followed by Artashes Geghamian (6.8 percent), Vazgen Manukian (4.8 percent) and Raffi Hovannisian (3.3 percent).
“Taregir” reports that during a recent visit to the town of Talin Prime Minister Andranik Markarian ordered local government chiefs to make sure that a candidate endorsed by the HHK, Khachik Manukian, wins the election in the local constituency. “By voting for Khachik Manukian, you will vote for me,” Markarian is quoted as saying. He warned that failure to ensure Manukian’s victory would cost them their jobs, saying that “May 12 will be followed by May 13.” “At that point some the most of audacious of local village chiefs whispered, ‘But he won’t be prime minister on May 13.’”
Citing sources close to the HHK, “Zhamanak Yerevan” reports that Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian is considering endorsing Eduard Madatian, the fugitive former transport minister who reportedly wants to return to Armenia and run for parliament. The paper says Madatian’s brother Grigor is holding “intensive negotiations” with Sarkisian. Madatian, better known as Khuchuch Edo, fled the country after being accused of plotting to assassinate Sarkisian and Robert Kocharian.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” says that the Yerevan municipality has decided to organize concerts in the city’s Freedom Square on a daily basis from March 8 through May 10. The paper says the decision is aimed at stripping the Armenian opposition of the traditional venue for its rallies during the pre-election period.