“Hayots Ashkhar” writes that the Armenian opposition is stepping up its search for an acceptable and “electable” presidential candidate. This is taking the form of more opinion polls and discussions on the possibility of forming new, “hitherto unlikely” alliances against President Robert Kocharian. “Time is pressing them,” the paper says, adding that opposition parties are now ignoring ideological differences for the sake of a regime change. They at least need to shape the presidential elections in a way that would allow them to blame their defeat on alleged election fraud.
“Aravot” calculates that in the absence of a joint opposition candidate, as many as 20 politicians might contest the ballot. “In experts’ view, this would be very bad. Only two or three…persons should be nominated for the elections,” the paper says. Otherwise, it will be hard for voters to decide which candidate deserves their support. But will their votes, after all, make a difference? The paper is not sure about that, fearing that these elections too will be falsified. “In that case, the more presidential candidates, the better,” it concludes.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) will decide whom to support in the elections at a conferences of its organization in Armenia next week. The party’s parliamentary leader, Armen Rustamian, declines to comment on opposition leader Artashes Geghamian’s claims that the Dashnaks will agree to endorse Kocharian only if the latter is challenged by former President Levon Ter-Petrosian.
“Hayots Ashkhar” comments that relatively calm discussions of the government’s draft budget for next year in the Armenian parliament’s standing committees should not be construed as a sign of its imminent easy approval by lawmakers. Many of them rub their hands in anticipation of parliamentary debates on the issue, which will be an excellent opportunity to score more points with populist speeches decrying the lack of public funds. So the paper tells readers to brace themselves for a “pre-election populist show.”