In an interview with “Zhamanak,” political commentator Armen Badalian says the presidential election demonstrated that the anti-government electorate in Armenia is quite strong. “This could play a role later on,” he says, adding, “The elections played the role of an opinion poll. They showed that anti-government sentiment in the country is quite strong. The [opposition] HAK, the BHK and Dashnaktsutyun must take advantage of that by setting up quality structures.”
“Chorrord Inknishkhanutyun” says that judging by the Armenian authorities’ response to the post-election protests they have not invented new techniques of dealing with opposition challenges. “They are merely guided by instincts of the caveman,” claims the pro-opposition daily. “There is a rally in Yerevan? They close roads [leading to the capital.] People don’t elect them? They must be bribed. If even that doesn’t help they must fix numbers. People take to the streets? Shoot them.”
“Hayots Ashkhar” quotes the spokesman for the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK), Eduard Sharmazanov, as criticizing opposition candidate Raffi Hovannisian for challenging the official election results. Sharmazanov also rejects Hovannisian’s calls for fresh presidential or parliamentary elections. “We can’t hold elections once a year,” he says.
“Zhoghovurd” says pundits close to the HAK and the BHK have started claiming that Hovannisian’s opposition movement is guided by “some invisible hand.” The paper says the HAK’s decision to cancel a March 1 rally in Yerevan’s Liberty Square and join a protest planned by Hovannisian elsewhere in the city center shows that they think they can stop the leader of the Zharangutyun (Heritage) from becoming the top opposition leader by actually joining his movement.
“Azg” casts doubt on the credibility of pre-election opinion polls conducted by Armenian and foreign organizations. The paper argues that none of them predicted that Hovannisian will win around 40 percent of the vote. “Pollsters working in the Armenian market were simply tasked with once again trumpeting that Armenia’s incumbent president will win, which can have a huge steering impact on the electorate,” it says.