(Saturday, April 21)
“I’m not afraid of Serzh Sarkisian’s or Levon Ter-Petrosian’s rule,” “Aravot” editor Aram Abrahamian writes in his newspaper. “I won’t be terrified if Raffi Hovannisian, Gagik Tsarukian or Vartan Oskanian becomes president. Of course, they would govern in different ways. But being sensible individuals and having no pathological inclinations, they would seek to maintain internal stability and solidarity. The only person whose rule I fear is Robert Kocharian. I don’t fear for myself. It’s just that at least two events occurred under that president: [the parliament shootings of] October 27 and [the post-election violence of] March 1. They twice set back our country’s development by several years. None of the figures mentioned above would have allowed that.”
Interviewed by “Haykakan Zhamanak,” sociologist Lyudmila Harutiunian accuses female supporters of pro-government businessman Samvel Aleksanian who have tried to interfere with his opposition challenger Nikol Pashinian’s election campaign of discrediting “the women’s movement in Armenia.” “The women have been used as a tool and thereby discredited themselves and called into question women’s role in politics,” she says.
In an interview with “Hayots Ashkhar,” Galust Sahakian, a deputy chairman of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK), accuses the HHK’s election opponents of having “forgotten” the unresolved Nagorno-Karabakh conflict during the parliamentary race. “The election campaign mainly focuses on social issues and the Karabakh seems to have been relegated to the background,” complains Sahakian. He goes on to claim that Armenia cannot successfully cope with “external challenges” without the HHK’s “decisive role.”
“The latest opportunity to establish a [democratic] political culture through elections can be deemed lost,” “Yerkir” writes in an editorial. “Once again the absolute majority of political forces have failed to truly realize the value and importance of civilized and substantive debate. They have freed themselves of the claws of gossip, slander, gloating and dirty tricks.”
“Zhamanak” says the Armenian election contenders have already spent a “spectacular” amount of money on the campaign. “And that only mid-way through the election campaign,” writes the paper. “They have a lot to spend in the second half of the campaign especially given that many parties will be making most of their expenditures in that period.”