Former President Levon Ter-Petrosian’s decision to run for mayor of Yerevan makes front-page headlines in virtually all Armenian newspapers published on Tuesday.
“Golos Armenii” says that Ter-Petrosian and his Armenian National Congress (HAK) were heartened by a “relatively” strong attendance at their March 1 rally in Yerevan. The paper says that not all of his supporters wanted him to join the mayoral race. Those who agree with his decision believe that he has an opportunity to win control over “half of the country” and thereby increase chances for the formation of a national unity government.
“This decision has drastically changed the political situation in Armenia,” writes “Hayk.” “Before this decision, the regime was sure that the opposition will not participate in the mayoral elections or will participate for the sake of participation. Now there is a totally different situation. It can be said for certain that neither Robert Kocharian, nor Serzh Sarkisian or Republican candidate Gagik Beglarian expected the founding president to head the electoral list of the Armenian National Congress in the elections. Levon Ter-Petrosian’s participation substantially boosts the significance of the May 31 elections.” The opposition paper claims that the authorities can not win the elections without blatant vote rigging.
“Hayots Ashkhar” expects the HAK to “politicize” the municipal elections as much as possible in order to “create the impression of a revanche for the defeat suffered in the 2008 presidential elections.” The pro-government paper describes the move as a “provocation aimed at destabilizing the political situation in the country.” It says the Armenian authorities must do everything to prevent the mayoral race from turning into a “government-opposition confrontation.”
“Aravot” accuses the leadership of Armenia’s State Linguistic University of “justifying” the beating of photojournalist Gagik Shamshian by its security guards. The paper says the university’s claim that Shamshian is a “former Interior Ministry employee” is a “blatant lie.”
“Iravunk de facto” reports on Belarusian commentators’ reaction to President Aleksandr Lukashenko’s mysterious visit to Armenia. One of them, Roman Yakovlevsky, is quoted as saying that of all three South Caucasus states Armenia has the closest ties with Belarus. “It turns out that Minsk is now receiving beneficial orders for military hardware repairs from Yerevan,” he says. “The military-technical cooperation alone can be sufficient grounds for the president’s visit. And if we add to that Yerevan’s active relations with Tehran and, on the other hand, Belarus’ relations with Iran, we will get a very nice partnership. That triangle is bound together by military-technical cooperation and issues of energy security.”