“Zhamanak Yerevan” discusses mounting tensions and the increasingly acrimonious character of the Armenian presidential race. “In terms of the content and techniques, this election period is almost not different from the previous elections held in 2003,” says the opposition paper. “The impression is that election techniques in our country have not undergone any development in the past five years. They are as crude and primitive as they were [in 2003.]”
Interviewed by “Hayots Ashkhar,” the deputy chairman of the governing Republican Party of Armenia (HHK), Razmik Zohrabian, accuses Levon Ter-Petrosian of misleading Armenians and planning to create “an atmosphere of civil discord” and to stir up trouble. “When Levon Ter-Petrosian threatens that ‘wait and see what we will do after February 19’ he thereby foretells bigger provocations,” says Zohrabian. “Right from the beginning he knew that he has no chance of getting the people’s vote of confidence. The only way to return to power is tensions and provocations.”
Zoya Tadevosian, a member of the Central Election Commission (CEC) affiliated with the opposition Zharangutyun party, tells “Haykakan Zhamanak” that members of lower-level election commissions representing Zharangutyun are receiving offers of bribes and “threats” from the authorities. But she gives no concrete examples of such threats.
“Aravot” quotes Transport and Communications Minister Andranik Manukian as saying that Prime Minister Serzh Sarkisian will win the presidential election already in the first round of voting. “It will be the freest and most democratic election in the history of independent Armenia,” says Manukian. He says Sarkisian is a “serious statesman” who will turn Armenia into a “modern European country” in the next ten years.
“The people are waiting for Artur Baghdasarian to endorse Levon Ter-Petrosian,” says “Hayk.” “But he is delaying the announcement of his decision for different reasons. Nobody doubts that the first president of Armenia will score a convincing victory in the first round even without Baghdasarian’s endorsement. If Baghdasarian puts aside his vested interests and stands by the people today he will earn huge political capital. If not, he will earn the reputation of Serzh Sarkisian’s client.”