(Saturday, January 26)
“Hraparak” reports that the opposition Free Democrats and HHSh parties declared on Friday that they will not support any of the opposition candidates in Armenia’s presidential election, including Hrant Bagratian. The paper believes that nothing can justify their refusal to endorse Bagratian, who formally remains affiliated with the Armenian National Congress (HAK) alliance, of which the HHSh is a member. It specifically lays the blame on HAK leader Levon Ter-Petrosian.
“Zhamanak” accuses the largest diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church of effectively using a religious holiday to promote President Serzh Sarkisian’s reelection bid. “The public must be aware that that is a political event and let those who consider themselves Serzh Sarkisian’s voters take part in it,” writes the paper.
“The presidential election campaign is slowly heating up but it is not yet quite clear who wants what or who is sending what message to the society,” writes “Chorrord Inknishkhanutyun.” “There are many words but little substance and we get a real mess as a result.” The pro-opposition paper also claims that in this campaign President Sarkisian is mainly fighting against opposition forces boycotting the February 18 vote. Most Armenians are pinning their hopes on his defeat in that struggle, it says.
“The political field is not deserted, it simply doesn’t exist,” Samvel Shahinian, a veteran politician, tells “168 Zham.” “One must be blind not to understand that the incumbent president is already [reelection] president. The fact is that the struggle [against him] is pointless … This is a systemic problem. Lower echelons [of power] are operating the way they want to. Sack and replace all ministers and even after that nothing would change.” Armenian laws are not properly enforced by the authorities and Armenians are too cynical to fight for the rule of law, he says.