“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that Prime Minister Serzh Sarkisian is leaving for the United States and will make a stopover in Paris on his way back to Yerevan. “What he will do in Paris is not yet known,” says the paper. “There is no word on any official visit and meetings that should naturally keep him in France. So the current prime minister will miss two important events expected in Yerevan.” The paper refers to Levon Ter-Petrosian’s October 26 rally in Yerevan and the eighth anniversary of the 1999 parliament attack to be marked the next day. It claims that Sarkisian deliberately decided to stay away from Yerevan on those days.
“Hayots Ashkhar” complains that few in Armenia trust the credibility of the country’s leading pollsters accused by the opposition of collaborating with the government. “The widely held belief is that independent polling centers are non-existent here,” says the paper. Nonetheless, it says, as the presidential elections approach politicians are increasingly obsessed with popularity ratings issued by various centers.
“Hayk” shrugs off Armenian opinion polls as a “sociology of flattery.” “There is a lie, a terrible lie, and statistics,” says the opposition paper. “Opinion polls in Armenia have long been driven to the sphere of science fiction.” Pollsters, it says, routinely rig their data in order to get money from the authorities.
Political expert Hmayak Hovannisian tells “168 Zham” that there is fertile ground for Levon Ter-Petrosian’s political comeback because “the leaders of all opposition parties are now discredited.” “Until this moment no opposition forces spoke out,” he says. “They didn’t speak during the post-election month. Those people could not be seen in public … Once Levon Ter-Petrosian became active they too came out of the bush and became active. Both in 1998 and now the opposition is defeated. The opposition-minded electorate is disappointed with all party leaders and is looking for some new person. And the new person is always the well-forgotten old person.”
“Zhamanak Yerevan” claims that many members of Gagik Tsarukian’s Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) are unhappy with his decision to support Serzh Sarkisian in the presidential elections. “They say that during the parliamentary elections their number one rival was the Republican Party and that it is because of vote falsifications perpetrated by the party that the 370,000-strong BHK got 200,000 votes,” writes the paper. It says Tsarukian is rumored to be less than enthusiastic about supporting Sarkisian’s presidential bid and to have told BHK activists not to work hard in helping the prime minister become president.