Opposition leader Stepan Demirchian tells “Aravot” that many members of the Armenian National Congress (HAK) believed that he, rather than Levon Ter-Petrosian, should run for Yerevan mayor in the May 31 elections. “But right from the beginning I have been of the opinion that Levon Ter-Petrosian leading the [HAK’s electoral] list would be the most optimal variant,” he says. “I believe the fact that Levon Ter-Petrosian will top the list will greatly mobilize our electorate.” He says that by agreeing to lead the HAK’s mayoral election campaign Ter-Petrosian made clear that his struggle against the government continues in earnest.
In an interview with “Iravunk,” a deputy chairman of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK), Razmik Zohrabian, shrugs off opposition claims that Ter-Petrosian’s decision to run for Yerevan mayor caused “panic” in the HHK ranks. “Our party was set up during the war and it has always fought and won since then,” says Zohrabian. “What panic are they talking about?” He describes the HHK’s electoral chances are “very high.” “In my opinion, the HAK’s chances of winning these elections are very low,” he adds.
“Yerkir” says that the HAK and the opposition Zharangutyun party never really negotiated over the possibility of forming an electoral alliance. “Otherwise, Zharangutyun would not have been so offended by the Congress’s proposal,” argues the paper. “Although it is Zharangutyun that is in parliament, it is crystal clear that the radicals [in the HAK] considers only themselves to be at the forefront [of the opposition struggle] and are sure that the people accept only their leader as an alternative to the current authority.”
Pollster Aharon Adibekian tells “Haykakan Zhamanak” that the HHK and its candidate, Gagik Beglarian, will win the May 31 polls. Adibekian argues that Beglarian was easily reelected as chief of Yerevan’s central Kentron district as recently as in October. “It’s hard to bribe [voters] in Kentron because its residents are mainly well-to-do,” he says. “And if Beglarian twice won in Kentron elections, then there must be something [about those victories] that we don’t know. Vote bribes are not a factor here because I can’t imagine going into these new high-rises and buying [their residents’] votes for $10.”