“Azg” comments on the possibility of an electoral alliance between opposition candidates Artur Baghdasarian and Levon Ter-Petrosian. “It is clear that right now the question of opposition leadership tops the agenda of the talks [between the two men] and will hardly be answered before this Saturday, February 19, after which nobody will have the right to withdraw their candidacy,” writes the paper. “In that case, the issue of leadership will be automatically solved before the second round., Of course, assuming that there will be a second round.”
“Ter-Petrosian will never withdraw his candidacy in favor of Artur Baghdasarian because 15 parties and organizations have already rallied around him,” says “Hayots Ashkhar.” “For many of them, Baghdasarian’s candidacy is, to put it mildly, unacceptable.” As for Baghdasarian, the paper believes that his possible endorsement of Ter-Petrosian would not be welcomed by most members of his Orinats Yerkir Party. This would only make it easier for Serzh Sarkisian to win the presidential election already in the first round of voting, it says.
“168 Zham” likewise asserts that Ter-Petrosian will not necessarily be backed by every Baghdasarian supporter if he secures the Orinats Yerkir leader’s endorsement. “As Orinats Yerkir’s Yerevan rally demonstrated, Orinats Yerkir’s electorate is not much smaller than Levon Ter-Petrosian’s electorate and is overwhelmingly ‘protestant’ in one way or another,” says the paper. It says many Baghdasarian backers would turn to another candidate or will not vote at all if their leader drops out of the race.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” finds credible Baghdasarian’s claims that he received death threats from the authorities and says law-enforcement authorities “must solve this crime.” “Obviously, all this is aimed at aborting the process of a possible consolidation of the opposition,” the paper says, adding that Serzh Sarkisian is seriously worried about Baghdasarian’s endorsement of Ter-Petrosian’s candidacy.
“It is evident that all presidential hopefuls are trying to establish themselves by criticizing Levon Ter-Petrosian,” writes “Hayk.” The pro-Ter-Petrosian paper admits that those candidates criticize the Armenian authorities as well. But, it says, they are thereby trying to “dispel suspicions that they are government agents.”