In an interview with “Hayots Ashkhar,” the chief of Armenia’s National Security Service (NSS), Gorik Hakobian, shrugs off Levon Ter-Petrosian’s warnings that law-enforcement officials impeding opposition activities will be held accountable in the event of his victory in the 2008 presidential election. “We know very well our rights and responsibilities and are ready take all necessary measures envisaged by law and stemming from the situation in order to avert and thwart any action aimed at shaking the foundations of constitutional order,” says Hakobian.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” quotes opposition leader Stepan Demirchian as refuting a state television report that he is about to defect from the Ter-Petrosian camp. He also denies being influenced by his mother in making key political decisions. “If, for example, a head of state is hostage to the underworld and his lackeys to its money, this is tragedy for the country,” Demirchian hits back. Instead of making “immoral comments,” he says, state television must explain why it is refusing to broadcast a documentary dedicated to the 75th birth anniversary of Demirchian’s late father Karen.
“Aravot” says the Armenian authorities are to blame for what it sees as a low level of “pre-election debate” in the country. “The current president’s periodical threats to ‘remind’ and their realization make the election campaign similar to a street bust-up,” editorializes the paper. “Even more unfortunately, the practice of reminding one another, settling scores with one another is also used by opposition candidates. Artur Baghdasarian, who has so far stuck to the rules of fair play, is perhaps exception to this rule. Apart from reminders, they also accuse each other of serving Serzh. And yet in wrangling among each other, they could hardly give Serzh Sarkisian a better present.”
“Zhamanak Yerevan” reports that “serious differences” have emerged between the governor of the northern Shirak region, Lida Nanian, the controversial mayor of the regional capital Gyumri, Vartan Ghukasian. “The thing is that they can’t agree on who will be responsible for the city of Gyumri in the upcoming presidential elections,” says the paper. “This is an issue of vital importance because it will determine not only the process of organizing vote rigging but who will manage the lavish financial resources from Serzh Sarkisian’s campaign fund.”
“Taregir” speaks out against the idea of holding a first-ever exit poll in Armenia suggested by the U.S. embassy in Yerevan. The paper claims that Armenian exits polls can not produce credible results because “our citizens are afraid of telling the truth.”