“Chorrord Inknishkhanutyun” describes election campaign rallies held by the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) as a carefully orchestrated effort to mislead people into thinking that President Serzh Sarkisian has a large following. “But that scheme is not working,” says the paper. “Why? Let’s assume that everyone in the Erebuni district is forcibly herded to a meeting with Serzh Sarkisian shown on television. But residents of the Arabkir or Nork districts [watching TV] know the real situation very well because they will be herded [to HHK rallies] the next day. They have already been registered and warned that they will be in trouble if they don’t show up. So everyone knows everything and those shows do not solve any issues.”
“Hayots Ashkhar” scrutinizes the election campaign of the opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK). “Ninety percent of the HAK propaganda is counterpropaganda [against the government,]” writes the pro-presidential paper. “The remaining 10 percent is wishes and memories depending on the mood of [Levon] Ter-Petrosian and [Hrant] Bagratian. So there is not a single word about the HAK platform.”
“The first days of the election campaign show that most of the forces participating in the elections put the emphasis on the personality and image of their leaders,” writes “Yerkir.” “That is being done in such a pronounced fashion that an uninformed person would think that there will be presidential, rather than parliamentary elections … Either the parties lack cadres and have nothing else to present, or the concept of a team has long ceased to be a political category for them.”
“Zhamanak” questions Ter-Petrosian’s statements differentiating the Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) from the HHK and other government factions. The paper says the BHK’s decision to cooperate with the opposition in monitoring the conduct of the elections is not sufficient grounds to consider it a potential ally. “Maybe Ter-Petrosian thinks that the society is naïve,” it says. “Or maybe he thinks that the HHK is so naïve that it does not strip the BHK of its ministerial portfolios and quotas. Or maybe the BHK is naïve and does not realize that joining the HAK means joining a process of genuinely solving the March 1 [2008 killings.]” The paper recalls that the HAK itself had accused Tsarukian of involvement in the deadly crackdown on Ter-Petrosian’s opposition movement.
In an interview with “Aravot,” Nerses Nazarian, chief of Yerevan’s police department, says that many Armenians working abroad return home to cast ballots in elections and must therefore not be removed from voter lists. “I have friends who fly here with their families to participate in elections,” he says. “We tell friends to come and participate.”