A top aide to Robert Kocharian denies, in an “Iravunk” interview, that the Armenian president’s increasingly frequent public appearances signal the start of his election campaign. “The president’s propaganda campaign will start only when he officially announces it,” Aleksan Harutiunian says. He says it is opposition forces that are now campaigning for next year’s elections.
Harutiunian also believes that the former ruling HHSh and its allies will not succeed in their bid to return to power. “I don’t think that the HHSh has big chances of winning any elections,” he says. The presidential adviser refuses to comment on Levon Ter-Petrosian’s possible return to politics.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” says that the coalition of three major opposition parties is “dead.” The leader of the People’s Party of Armenia (HZhK), Stepan Demirchian, did not mention Artashes Geghamian of the National Unity party when asked about his actual and potential allies during a recent meeting with HZhK supporters.
“Iravunk” also concludes that “the anti-presidential troika does not exist anymore”
“Hayots Ashkhar” picks up agency reports that some Azerbaijani government officials would like Ter-Petrosian to regain power and again take over the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process. The paper believes that Baku is thereby sending a signal to the United States to “give the green light” to Ter-Petrosian’s return. It says it hopes that the U.S. government will “soberly evaluate the situation in the region” and stick to the Paris and Key West principles of the Karabakh settlement.
“Yerkir,” meanwhile, accuses Ter-Petrosian allies of spreading the “myth” that the Bush administration has decided to help the “pro-American and extremely liberal” HHSh and its satellites win the presidential and parliamentary elections of 2003.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” comments that the government’s decision to amend rather than scrap its controversial bill on mass media is a “trap” for the latter. The paper, citing anonymous “informed sources,” says the government has decided to remove all controversial articles only to reinsert them in the bill later on, when it is debated by the parliament. In the meantime, those sources claim, the government will try to fool the media into thinking that they are being consulted on the issue.
“Zhamanak” asks Agriculture Minister David Zadoyan why Armenian farmers are so unhappy with his agency and the government in general. Zadoyan’s reply is quite interesting: “The farmer has to be constantly unhappy with something. Once he stops being unhappy, that will mean that he does not look forward to the future anymore.”