“Hraparak” says one specificity of Armenia’s presidential election campaign is that “we are hearing the most ludicrous calls and witnessing the most extraordinary initiatives these days.” “One guy goes on hunger strike, another one is demanding the abolition of the electoral deposit [for presidential candidates,] another one is telling voters to go to the polls and … make the ballots invalid with improper voting,” writes the paper. It brands these actions as “destructive,” “illicit” and “harmful to the formation of civic consciousness.”
“Hayots Ashkhar” reports that President Serzh Sarkisian on Thursday chaired a meeting of the governing board of his Republican Party (HHK) that discussed his presidential election campaign. HHK spokesman and deputy parliament speaker Eduard Sharmazanov is quoted as saying that Sarkisian will kick off the campaign on January 21 with a rally in Yerevan’s northern Avan district before heading to the southeastern Syunik and Vayots Dzor provinces.
Another senior HHK lawmaker, Artak Davtian, rules out a repeat of Armenia’s 2008 post-election violence in an interview with “Iravunk.” “I think we are sensible enough to not allow a repeat of such tragic events,” he says. “We are drawing sufficient lessons from our history and this is another reason why they will not be repeated.”
Speaking to “Aravot,” Nikol Pashinian, a dissident member of the opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK), declines to respond to HAK leader Levon Ter-Petrosian’s remark that those oppositionists who criticize his political strategy should “switch from words to actions” in order to prove him right. Pashinian is also asked whether one of his recent statements was a pledge to lead a new opposition movement. “I want to remain faithful to my pledge that I will make utmost efforts to achieve real changes in Armenia and I hope that all concerned citizens will also make efforts,” he replies.
“Zhoghovurd” says that Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili’s visit to Yerevan “can be deemed successful for the Armenian side.” “At least publicly Ivanishvili made totally positive statements which … contained quite concrete promises about concrete programs,” explains the paper. “The first and foremost one is certainly about the reopening of the Abkhaz railway. Another important issue relates to the Javakheti Armenians. Ivanishvili’s public readiness to make good on his earlier promises is encouraging. But these positive signs are kind of too numerous for one visit and too positive to be real.”