(August 4, Saturday)
“Hayk” reminds its readers that 17 years ago, on August 4, 1990, for the first time in the history of the Armenian people, the country’s leader was elected by means of a democratic, free and fair election. “To the joy of hundreds of thousands of people, Levon Ter-Petrosian was elected chairman of the Supreme Soviet (Council). That election heralded Armenia’s embarking on a path towards independence and democracy,” “Hayk” writes.
Yet, in its other article, the paper shows where that path has led the nation to. “A new notion -- the authorities’ go-ahead -- has emerged in the economy where an ordinary citizen cannot engage in the import of goods or run a business without this go-ahead,” the paper claims, adding that the country’s ‘shadow’ budget formed by the most lucrative monopolized spheres of economy immediately patronized by the Robert Kocharian-Serzh Sarkisian duo is big enough to compete with the state budget proper. “It is not without a reason that Roza Tsarukian, the mother of the Prosperous Armenia Party’s leader, tycoon Gagik Tsarukian, justifies their family’s not paying taxes to the state budget, saying that some people would anyway be losing that money at Monte Carlo casinos.”
“Aravot” reports that a week ago, on July 28, after a carousal in the resort town of Tsaghkadzor, a drunken relative of General Manvel Grigorian beat the son of a well-known constructor, Bezoyan. “Happily, the Armenian president happened to be in Tsaghkadzor on that same day, and Bezoyan immediately told him about the ‘unruly behavior’ of the feared general’s relative. Robert Kocharian ordered an immediate arrest of Grigorian’s relative.”
In its editorial, “Aravot” presents a technology that its says has been used in Armenian elections since 1998 and is likely to be employed in next year’s presidential polls as well. “The essence of the “backup” candidate(s) technology is as follows: the main candidate brings into the race one or two “tagalong” candidates whose aim is not to win, but rather to support the main candidate and most importantly attack his rivals.” The paper says that in 1998 when the technology was first applied in Armenia Robert Kocharian’s “dubbing” candidates were, in particular, Paruyr Hairikian and Aram G. Sarkisian. It predicts that several people, namely Tigran Karapetich (Karapetian), Tigran Ulikhanian, or Sargis Asatrian, may volunteer to act as Serzh Sarkisian’s “backups” in next year’s presidential election.
“Hayots Ashkhar” scoffs at the populist campaigns of the mainstream opposition parties, including Stepan Demirchian’s People’s Party of Armenia and Artashes Geghamian’s National Unity, which it argues accounted for their defeat in last May’s elections.
“On the contrary, Orinats Yerkir that had managed to preserve most of its structures and the Heritage party with its charismatic leader were slowly but surely edging towards winning the favors of the opposition electorate.”
“So, it is the opposition that is primarily responsible for the landslide victory of pro-government forces, and perhaps knowing this responsibility they did not even make a serious bid to challenge the election outcomes,” the paper concludes.