(Saturday, October 27)
Levon Ter-Petrosian’s rally in Yerevan’s Liberty Square is the number one topic of Saturday’s Armenian press commentary.
“This rally and its strong attendance showed one thing,” writes “Zhamanak Yerevan.” “Ter-Petrosian and forces supporting him, notably HZhK leader Stepan Demirchian and Hanrapetutyun leader Aram Sarkisian, can become the focal point of the opposition because no other opposition party can rally that many people in Liberty Square.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” is impressed not only with the size but also “the high quality” of the crowd that listened to Ter-Petrosian. “Contrary to forecasts, there were almost no idle people who went there to kill time,” says the pro-Ter-Petrosian paper. “In the square were citizens who wanted to listen and understand and, what is more, to take a critical approach towards Levon Ter-Petrosian’s statements. And it must be admitted that Armenia’s first president did deliver a convincing speech which met the demands of even his most serious critics. Levon Ter-Petrosian’s speech lasted for about one and a half hours, and not only did none of the 60,000 people present at the rally budge but an incredible silence reigned in the square throughout the speech.”
“In any case, it is evident that a new popular movement led by Levon Ter-Petrosian is getting underway in Armenia,” concludes “Haykakan Zhamanak.”
“Hayots Ashkhar,” meanwhile, insists that Ter-Petrosian has “no real chance” of winning the 2008 presidential election and is well aware of that. The pro-government paper says his strategy is to “break up the existing government system before the elections” by means of a “political blackmail.” Ter-Petrosian will be able to claim the moral high ground even if he fails in that endeavor, it says.
“There is no doubt that the counter-propaganda that has been voiced against Ter-Petrosian and his supporters for ten years will become a hundred times more ferocious and open,” editorializes “Aravot.” “In particular, [all of Armenia’s] 17 ‘responsible’ TV companies, perhaps except [the Dashnaktsutyun-controlled] Yerkir Media, finally forgetting about the basics of journalism, will not cite a single quote from the former president and will broadcast instead plenty of disparaging comments [about Ter-Petrosian.]”
“Azg” reports on President Robert Kocharian’s scathing comments about Ter-Petrosian and his HHSh party that were aired by those TV stations on Friday. Kocharian said that they left a “very bad legacy” and are responsible for “ruining Armenia’s economy.” “According to the Armenian president, it would be naïve to think that the people have forgotten the years when that party was in power,” says the paper. “In President Robert Kocharian’s view, Armenia’s economy has been restored and the HHSh probably thinks that there are new opportunities for plunder.”
“Azg” also quotes Kocharian as saying that Ter-Petrosian will not be the main opposition candidate in the presidential election. He claimed that there are now “at least two or three other opposition figures” who are more popular than Ter-Petrosian.