“Zhamanak” says that Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) leader Gagik Tsarukian’s participation in next February’s presidential election would have led to the “defeat of the criminal-oligarchic logic.” “That situation has now been delayed by several more years,” editorializes the paper. “If Tsarukian had joined the political struggle the civic and intellectual segment of the society would have had a chance to act as an anti-Tsarukian force. Tsarukian’s failure to run for president has created a labyrinth not only for the opposition and the authorities but also in terms of broader social transformations. One should get out of that labyrinth without writing off Tsarukian ”
“Hayots Ashkhar” says an important question now is whom Tsarukian supporters will vote for in the presidential election. The paper believes that voters sympathetic to the BHK are quite diverse and some of them will not bother to vote for any candidate other than Tsarukian. It says many other BHK supporters have voted for Tsarukian’s in return for expecting certain material benefits. It is not yet clear who will win over them. The BHK electorate also comprises disgruntled Armenians that will almost certainly vote for an opposition candidate. There are also those Tsarukian backers who have “pronounced pro-government views,” according to the paper.
“Irates de facto” suggests that Tsarukian did not face strong government pressure to pull out of the presidential race. “Gagik Tsarukian simply realized after his Brussels trip that a presidential bid is too much of burden for his party and opted for a clever retreat, promising behind-the-scene support for Serzh Sarkisian, which will most probably be highly appreciated by the latter in the form of future [ministerial] portfolios,” speculates the paper.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” dismisses speculation that opposition leader Levon Ter-Petrosian hoped that the BHK will support him in the upcoming election. “Ter-Petrosian hoped that with the help of [his Armenian National] Congress (HAK) Gagik Tsarukian would get hold of the presidential post,” writes the pro-HAK daily. “Obviously in these circumstances Tsarukian would not be able to govern the country without Ter-Petrosian’s assistance. In the pragmatic sense, that was probably an understandable calculation. But the most important thing is that the collapse of the BHK-related plans has left the opposition camp on the brink of a disaster and nullified Ter-Petrosian’s discourse of the past year. And so if Ter-Petrosian remains in the domain of pragmatic calculations he will not nominate his candidacy … As for romantic calculations, they on the contrary dictate Ter-Petrosian’s nomination. According to this logic, Serzh Sarkisian must not be allowed to contest the election without a real alternative.”