“Aravot” analyzes opposition leader Levon Ter-Petrosian’s latest speech, saying it contained both “strong and weak” points. “In his speech Levon Ter-Petrosian correctly pointed out that the parliament has become a ‘spineless and wretched puppet’ but did not say that the National Assembly has been like that since 1995,” editorializes the paper. “It is that parliament [elected in 1995] which was first penetrated by semi-criminal elements. It is there that button-pressing individuals devoid of intellect first constituted an overwhelming majority.” The paper insists that both the current and former Armenian authorities have ignored voters’ opinion. “Ter-Petrosian has a lot of reason to repent on this issue,” it concludes.
“Hayk,” meanwhile, claims that Ter-Petrosian’s “snowballing” campaign is “terrifying the regime” and forcing it to hand out “bribes.” The pro-Ter-Petrosian paper says the government has collected 10 billion drams ($30 million) in extra taxes this year and will use the money for that purpose.
“Azg” questions Ter-Petrosian’s assurances that his key aim is not to win back power but to turn Armenia into a democratic state. The paper is especially suspicious of his claims that he is not intent on bringing his entourage to power along with him. “If you are not saying who you are bringing to power and are saying instead that your cronies will hold no posts and that you will oust these [authorities], isn’t this nothing but adventurism and a bid to condemn the state and the people to anarchy and chaos? And if Ter-Petrosian is lying and wants to come to power with his supporters, it would be more honest to make that clear.”
“Taregir” sees a widely held belief among Armenians, including supporters of Prime Minister Serzh Sarkisian, that “in Armenia one becomes a president not through elections but only revolutions and coups.” The paper attributes it to an increasingly entrenched culture of electoral fraud. It says Armenian elections will be rigged even if all ballots are printed abroad and if voters’ fingers are marked by ink. “This is the reason why a considerable part of our public is in a revolutionary mood on the eve of the elections,” it concludes.
“Zhamanak Yerevan” claims that the owners of an expensive Yerevan restaurant popular with wealthy businessmen and government officials have angered the authorities by offering to contribute $200,000 to Ter-Petrosian’s election campaign. The paper says the chief of the Yerevan police, Nerses Nazarian, has now been tasked with “punishing” parliament deputy Grigor Markarian and his brother.