"Haykakan Zhamanak" reports that Artashes Geghamian's National Unity will not be contesting the October 20 local elections. This is construed by the paper as a sign that "Geghamian does not want to blow up the myth about his 'huge' party. But this raises the question of how Geghamian plans to win the presidential election with such hopeless local chapters."
Pollster Nairi Badalian tells "Hayots Ashkhar" that the formation of the 16-party opposition coalition boosted the approval ratings of the main opposition leaders. He says opposition attempts at unification mobilized the potential electorates of politicians like Stepan Demirchian, Geghamian and Vladimir Darpinian.
In "Hayots Ashkhar", Sociologist Hranush Kharatian discusses the deepening social polarization in Armenia, saying that all key decisions affecting the country are made by rich and well-to-do citizens who make up 20 percent of the population. "That 20 percent includes those who have succeeded in either the government or economic system. They are active, know what they want and have long been affecting the outcomes of elections," she says. As for the intellectuals, Kharatian believes that "in a country like ours this stratum is not pulling the strings."
In an interview with "Aravot," former Prime Minister Aram Sarkisian claims tartly that the authorities will not register ringleader Nairi Hunanian as a presidential candidate just because the latter would "take away more than 60 percent of Robert Kocharian's votes" in the February election. "They both are supported by the same electorate," he says. Sarkisian further claims that the issue of impeaching Kocharian is still on the opposition agenda, hinting that parliament deputies will be increasingly "inclined to please the people" as the elections approach. "I have no doubts that if Kocharian participates in the elections, he will not be reelected. He does not have popular support and there is strong antipathy toward this regime."
"Haykakan Zhamanak" says that Karabakh Prime Minister Anushavan Danielian has failed to meet a 30-day deadline for the formation of his new cabinet which was set by President Arkady Ghukasian. "The complications mainly have to do with differences between Arkady Ghukasian and Robert Kocharian over the composition of the [Karabakh] government," the paper says. It claims that Ghukasian is pushing for the sacking of the unrecognized republic's Foreign Minister Naira Melkumian and Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian, while Kocharian is demanding the replacement of Bako Sahakian, head of the Karabakh National Security Department. The Armenian president wants to see only his close loyalists in the Stepanakert executive.