“168 Zham” dismisses as fraudulent income and property declarations filed by Armenia’s nine presidential candidates. The paper says it has the impression that they applied not for election registration but poverty benefits.
“Zhamanak Yerevan” similarly says that it feels pity for the ostensible poverty of some of the candidates. “The impression is that these wretches live only on their wages, commute in minibuses because, according to their declarations, they have no vehicles,” scoffs the paper. “They [claim that they] do not engage in entrepreneurial activity, own no real property, never visit casinos. In sum, they want to be become president in order to support their families with their presidential salary.”
“One thing is clear,” adds “Zhamanak Yerevan.” “These declarations are false documents and the Central Election Commission is turning a blind eye to that even though it is obliged to check the veracity of these documents.”
Writing on the same subject, “Haykakan Zhamanak” denounces opposition leader Artur Baghdasarian’s claim that he owns no house or apartment. The paper notes that he lives in a new “elite” building in Yerevan along with a number of senior state officials and wealthy businessmen. It goes on to criticize Prime Minister Serzh Sarkisian for making the same claim.
“Hayastani Hanrapetutyun,” meanwhile, blasts Levon Ter-Petrosian’s “entourage” for convincing the former president to return to politics. The government paper says they have thus doomed him to a “disaster.” “Instead of blaming its wrong calculations on others, the [Ter-Petrosian] team must have the dignity to accept any result of opinion polls and the courage to apologize to its presidential candidate for giving him wrong information, false analyses and other promises, getting him to the political arena and seriously discrediting him,” it says.
Another pro-government paper, “Hayots Ashkhar,” quotes Suren Zolian, a political expert and state university rector, as accusing Ter-Petrosian of being responsible for “serious abuses related to the earthquake zone” and committing “many other crimes” while in power. Zolian says the current government has been too “gracious” towards its predecessor.
“Aravot” quotes opposition leader Aram Sarkisian as condemning the purchase of a new aircraft for Robert Kocharian and the next Armenian president, saying that its announced cost ($45 million) is worth nearly half of the value of Armenian enterprises handed over to Russia in the 2003 equities-for-debt agreement. “If it was possible to find 45 million dollars for buying an aircraft then it must have also been possible to find as much money to repay the state’s debts and avoid selling at least some of those enterprises,” he says.