(Saturday, January 19)
In an interview with “168 Zham,” psychologist Samvel Mertarjian describes Prime Minister Serzh Sarkisian as an “open” and “consistent” leader who does not avoid dealing with “difficult issues.” Mertarjian believes Sarkisian is at the same time “flexible” and “takes into account existing realities.” “Power stays in the hands of people like him for a long time,” he says.
But as “Zhamanak Yerevan” speculates, Sarkisian has already committed a number of blunders that call into question the success of his presidential bid. The paper says he should have ensured that the new National Assembly is “more diverse” and distanced himself from President Robert Kocharian. “He should not have allowed his brother to become a parliament deputy … He should have welcomed Levon Ter-Petrosian’s return to active politics, instead of putting his shock and fears on display,” it says.
Another opposition paper, “Hayk,” says that Sarkisian will always remain in the shadow of Kocharian. “Therefore, by voting for Serzh Sarkisian you will for Robert Kocharian and nothing will change in Armenia,” it tells readers.
“It is no secret to anyone, and the former president in the first instance, that [Levon Ter-Petrosian] does not have even a theoretical chance to win the elections,” writes “Hayots Ashkhar.” The pro-Sarkisian paper says Ter-Petrosian’s only goal is to destabilize the political situation in the same way as he did in the late 1980s.
“Robert Kocharian and Serzh Sarkisian have still not been able to agree on the issue of future prime minister,” claims “Taregir.” “That in turn has reflected on the relationship between the Republican and Prosperous Armenia parties.” The paper says despite lavish praise heaped on Prosperous Armenia by Sarkisian last month, the party’s pro-Kocharian leader, Gagik Tsarukian, has still not allocated any funds for the prime minister’s election campaign.
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” comments on the U.S. government’s decision not to finance a first-ever exit poll in Armenia. “The Americans have realized that an exit poll in Armenia would be meaningless because the authorities are doing everything to create an atmosphere of fear in the country and voters would hardly give frank answers to the question of who they voted for,” says the paper.
“Azg” carries a report on the first anniversary of the assassination of Turkish-Armenian editor Hrant Dink. The paper sees a growing consolidation of Turks who “think like Dink.” “The number of those in Turkish society condemning violence is rising day by day,” it says.