"Aravot" ridicules the government euphoria over the improved tax collection in the first half of the year. The paper questions the credibility of those figures, saying that there are "no objective grounds" for the declared improvement. As the presidential elections approach, it says, the public will hear more and more about the government's "achievements."
"Or" is also skeptical about the government claims about improving fiscal performance. This paper also links them to Robert Kocharian's preparations for the elections.
"Iravunk" writes that "external orientation" is increasingly becoming the main factor in the dividing line between the pro-government forces and the opposition.
"Hayots Ashkhar" likewise notes that the greatest danger facing Kocharian's reelection bid is the involvement of "external forces" and the formation of a center-right alliance enjoying their support. That alliance could include political groups supporting former president Levon Ter-Petrosian, the Hanrapetutyun and People's parties as well as the U.S.-born former foreign minister, Raffi Hovannisian.
"Aravot" identifies what it describes as the main characteristics of the Armenian political elite. "First of all, it is corrupt. It is motivated by money and revenge and is discredited…Ninety percent of that elite is satisfied in one way or another." Even opposition leaders are well-to-do people. Real reforms are extremely unlikely in such conditions. Besides, the paper says, the intellectual level of the leading politicians has been steadily declining. In that sense, Kocharian and his chief rivals are no match to leaders like Ter-Petrosian and Vazgen Manukian who dominated Armenian politics until the late 1990s.
Hrant Khachatrian, a leader of the small Union for Constitutional Rights, a member of the 13-party opposition alliance, tells "Orran" that he still intends to stand in the Nagorno-Karabakh presidential elections. He says the alliance is now consulting lawyers to find out whether a citizen of Armenia can become the president of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic. He says his participation would boost the rule of law in Karabakh.
"Or" believes that Khachatrian's attempts to contest the presidential elections in Karabakh are a direct challenge to Arkady Ghukasian. "Khachatrian's chances of becoming president are slim. But by using the public discontent with Ghukasian in Karabakh, he could deal a serious political blow to the NKR authorities and -- by means of them -- to Robert Kocharian," the paper writes.