“Haykakan Zhamanak” quotes Levon Ter-Petrosian as commenting, in an interview with the Ilur.am news service, on criticism of his political strategy voiced by some senior members of his Armenian National Congress (HAK). Ter-Petrosian insists that his decision not to run in the upcoming presidential election does not mean that he has ended his struggle against the Armenian government. The HAK leader dismisses complaints that if he thinks he is too old to run for president he should have groomed a successor in the last one or two years. “In the opposition camp, nobody can make anybody else a politician or leader,” he says.
“Aravot” quotes Davit Shahnazarian, a former Ter-Petrosian ally who quit the HAK last year, as saying that the HAK, the Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) are boycotting the February 18 election. “It is not yet clear if that boycott is active or passive,” says Shahnazarian. “The BHK did not nominate a candidate because it was explicitly warned that in the presidential elections the authorities will no longer allow them to use the methods that earned [the BHK] so many votes in the parliamentary elections in May. I mean vote buying, political benevolence, pressure on voters and candidates and the like. I think that the BHK also took into account the reality that the HAK is no longer able to continue presenting the BHK as Armenia’s sole savior and a political force in general and sacrifice its supporters’ votes for [the BHK] because the HAK now has a serious lack of public trust.”
“Armenia’s authorities appear to have finally made a choice in the European integration versus the Eurasian Union dilemma and that choice is in favor of the latter,” editorializes “168 Zham.” The paper claims that events of the last few days have demonstrated that Armenia will not re-orient itself to the West after all. It says this “clarification” could lead to changes within the Armenian government.
“Zhamanak” is confident that Serzh Sarkisian will not be able to establish a “monolithic” authoritarian regime in Armenia no matter how easily he wins the February 18 election. The paper says that the ongoing rapid spread of the Internet, actively used by civic groups, practically precludes authoritarian tendencies. “Another factor is that Armenia is not an isolated island or cave but a part of the world, which is also going through big political, economic and civilization changes,” it says.