(Saturday, September 29)
“Zhamanak Yerevan” says that campaigning for Armenia’s 2008 presidential election has effectively started, with a large number of politicians and their supporters already staking a claim to the presidency. The paper says the abundance of presidential hopefuls is the result of Armenia’s electoral legislation that does not set stringent requirements for their registration. “Far more delicate is the plight of those who don’t quite know who the next president is and do not want to miss even the slightest opportunity to win the latter’s sympathy. Not to mention those individuals who were [in government] under Ter-Petrosian and are thriving now as well.”
“Aravot” says that what former President Levon Ter-Petrosian has said may be true but it does not seem to have struck a chord with many politicians and pundits. “The need for intellectuals like the first president arises in a revolutionary situation, whereas in times of stagnation, indifference, cynicism and insincerity it is more narrow-minded, utilitarian political managers that are in demand,” editorializes the paper.
Hamlet Harutiunian, a parliament deputy from the governing Republican Party of Armenia (HHK), tells “Hayots Ashkhar” that Ter-Petrosian’s and his allies’ return to power would be a “miracle.” “The voter knows very well the chances of each party,” he says. “If Levon Ter-Petrosian nominates his [presidential] candidacy, nothing extraordinary will happen. There will not be the kind of competition which the HHSh is talking about because Levon Ter-Petrosian will use the same resources that are at the HHSh’s disposal. We all saw in April-May what kind of potential the HHSh has.”
“168 Zham” is still not convinced that the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) will participate in the presidential race “to the end.” The paper speculates that in reality Dashnaktsutyun is “preparing ground for nominating the candidacy of Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian at some point.” “This possibility looks real in the light of visits paid by Oskanian to Armenia’s rural regions of late,” it says.
“Zhamanak Yerevan” claims that the late Prime Minister Andranik Markarian’s son Taron, who is the mayor of Yerevan’s northern Avan district, is in two minds about whom to support in the upcoming presidential vote. The paper says he decided recently to rally his father’s longtime friends around Ter-Petrosian’s presidential bid. “In order to keep him from realizing this intention, the authorities have offered him the post of Yerevan mayor, but Markarian’s son is not quite sure that these authorities will not dupe him,” it says.