(Saturday, April 13)
“Hayots Ashkhar” says that opposition leader Raffi Hovannisian’s post-election campaign has proved to be a total “fiasco.” “His poorly attended rally yesterday was simply a cruel proof of that fiasco,” writes the paper. “Of course it can be argued that yesterday’s rain was the reason for the poor attendance. But we saw that many more people attended a post-election meeting with Raffi Hovannisian in cold sleety conditions one and a half months ago.” The paper says this is the result of Hovannisian’s “disorganized and even anti-political actions.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” makes diametrically opposite claims in an editorial, saying that the mood among Hovannisian supporters in Yerevan’s Liberty Square was very buoyant on Friday. “The square was incredibly full,” says the paper. “And it was full of not hopeless, broken and disappointed people but even more determined and bullish people full of energy … This scene amazed even Raffi Hovannisian’s teammates, who did not seem to believe their eyes.”
“What standards will guide our voters when there is so much confusion in the country?” “Hraparak” asks in a commentary on the upcoming mayoral elections in Yerevan. The paper also wonders if the elections could help the opposition bring down the government. “Maybe Taron Markarian’s becoming Yerevan mayor has nothing to do with Serzh Sarkisian remaining or not remaining in power,” it says.
“Zhamanak” notes that during his latest rally Hovannisian attacked other opposition forces as well as individual oppositionists who criticized his actions on April 9. The paper notes that Hovannisian voiced the unusually strong criticism just hours after returning from Moscow. It says that with his stronger-than-expected performance in the February 18 presidential election Hovannisian surprised and made jealous both Levon Ter-Petrosian’s Armenian National Congress (HAK) and Gagik Tsarukian’s Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK). It says the BHK will now be fighting not so much against the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) as Hovannisian’s Zharangutyun.
“168 Zham” says that Vartan Oskanian and Gurgen Arsenian, the men topping the list of the BHK’s candidates for the May 5 elections, are “conducting diametrically opposite campaigns.” “Oskanian is criticizing the authorities, accusing them of electoral fraud, while Arsenian is on the contrary speaking of his warm rapport with HHK members and having common programs with them on improving things in Yerevan,” writes the paper. It suggests that Oskanian is thus trying to “save his political face” while Arsenian is keen to show that “he is the BHK candidate for the post of mayor.” “BHK leader Gagik Tsarukian is not participating in the election campaign because it is not clear whose position he should promote,” it says.