“Zhamanak Yerevan” claims that Raffi Hovannisian did a disservice to the Armenian opposition by deciding to participate in a repeat election to held in a single-mandate constituency in August. The paper levels similar accusations against Artur Baghdasarian, the leader of the second opposition party that won seats in the new Armenian parliament. “Right after the parliamentary elections Artur Baghdasarian declared that from now on he is the leader of the opposition because his party won the highest number of [opposition] votes in the elections,” it says.
“Orinats Yerkir has eight deputies in the parliament while [Hovannisian’s] Zharangutyun has seven. Now if Raffi Hovannisian wins in the electoral district No. 15, they will have equal numbers [of parliament seats,]” continues “Zhamanak Yerevan.” The paper speculates that this could provoke more defections from Orinats Yerkir’s parliament faction and prompt Hovannisian to lay claim to the opposition throne.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that Israel Hakobkokhian, a former world boxing champion who unsuccessfully ran for parliament, made on Monday conflicting statements as to whether he has had an audience with Prime Minister Serzh Sarkisian. Hakobkokhian ended last month his hunger strike outside the Central Election Commission building in Yerevan at the request of Sarkisian, who promised to meet him shortly afterwards. The paper says Hakobkokhian claimed that he has still not been received by Sarkisian until the Armenian premier’s press service told it that such a meeting took place at the weekend. “After learning this, the boxer said all of a sudden that they did meet. But he failed to specify what they talked about,” it says.
Opposition leader Shavarsh Kocharian tells “168 Zham” that his small National Democratic Party may well back another prominent oppositionist, Vazgen Manukian, during next year’s presidential election. “It is extremely essential to hold negotiations that would lead to the nomination of a single opposition candidate,” he says. “If that happens and if that candidate is Vazgen Manukian, then we will naturally stand by him.”
“Hayk” reports that President Robert Kocharian and members of his government visited a jazz club in Yerevan on Saturday night. The paper says the atmosphere in and outside the club was “tense.” “A source close to the government told us that many of the ministers were desperate to get out [of the place] and end their jazz-listening ordeal as soon as possible. Furthermore, after every performance they followed Robert Kocharian’s movements. When Kocharian applauded, they followed his example. When jazz lover Kocharian did not applaud for some reason, the ministers did not applaud either.”