“Hayots Ashkhar” admits that former President Levon Ter-Petrosian’s political comeback has made the Armenian presidential race more meaningful and even “saved the opposition” from extinction. “If the former president had refused to do that for some reason, then opposition candidates’ participation in the elections would have resembled a contest of sex shop doles that have the same face, the same program for salvaging the long-suffering homeland and show no sings of life,” editorializes the paper. It says Ter-Petrosian’s return to politics has only underscored their dullness and misery.
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” says the current political situation in Armenia is strikingly similar to one that existed in 1997. As was the case at the time, the paper says, Ter-Petrosian is putting forward “extremely important issues related to Armenia’s future.” “As a result, there is again no debate,” it says. “Instead, there is widespread rancor and that rancor is directed only against Levon Ter-Petrosian. In effect, Ter-Petrosian’s calls [for the political elite] to think about Armenia’s future remains unanswered.”
“Hayastani Hanrapetutyun” says that Ter-Petrosian is not quite honoring his pledge not to wrangle with other opposition candidates. The government paper argues that he is attacking and discrediting them through his loyalists, something which it believes does not befit an individual seeking to be Armenia’s next president.
“Zhamanak Yerevan” reports on one such attack made against opposition leader Vazgen Manukian by the pro-Ter-Petrosian daily “Haykakan Zhamanak.” (It published on Saturday Manukian’s alleged 1996 notes in which he advocated Machiavellian methods of political struggle against the Ter-Petrosian administration.) “Zhamanak Yerevan” says that the notes were in fact written by philosopher and columnist Ruben Angaladian. It says Angaladian submitted them to Manukian “as a proposal” in the run-up to the 1996 presidential election.
In a separate article, “Zhamanak Yerevan” accuses Armenia’s leading pollsters of deliberately misleading the public “for the sake of money and power.” Echoing opposition claims, the paper says their mission is not to gauge public opinion but to legitimize falsified election results.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” says that employees of various government agencies are being forced to pay at least 2 percent of their December salary to the All-Armenian Fund Hayastan which held an annual televised fundraiser in Los Angeles last month. The paper claims that the management of Armenian Public Television withheld as much as 10 percent of its staff’s monthly pay for that purpose.