“Haykakan Zhamanak” and “Aravot” quote a senior member of the former ruling HHSh as dismissing Boris Yeltsin’s announcement that Levon Ter-Petrosian will not run for president. “I am still confident that Ter-Petrosian will put forward his presidential candidacy,” says David Shahnazarian.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” comments that Yeltsin’s statement caused a stir. “Some figures close to Ter-Petrosian believe that this is yet another unfounded and inappropriate statement,” the paper says. It says the very fact of such a statement made by Yeltsin shows that Robert Kocharian is the “most desirable” Armenian president for the current Russian leadership. “Kocharian will hardy hear more helpful statements any time soon.”
Meanwhile, Kocharian’s spokesman Vahe Gabrielian denies in “Hayots Ashkhar” HHSh claims that the current Armenian leader tried to thwart Tuesday’s meeting between Yeltsin and Ter-Petrosian. Gabrielian calls those claims “disinformation.”
However, “Aravot” laments a perceived lack of respect toward Ter-Petrosian from the current regime in Yerevan and its allies, who the paper says hold the former Russian leader in much higher regard. The paper says Kocharian is primarily to blame for what it see as a smear campaign against his predecessor conducted for the past five years.
“Iravunk” wonders why being pro-Russian in Armenia, which is so dependent on Western aid, holds the key to winning elections. Even pro-Western political groups seek the backing of certain Russian forces. This foreign policy orientation plays no role only in Sunday’s local elections because they “have a mainly apolitical character.” Criminalized or unsavory elements are holding sway everywhere. The president is not particularly willing to step in, safe in the knowledge that it is easy to force any community head with a dubious past to serve the president…The number of people disappointed with the president of the republic will drastically increase after October 20.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” notes in this regard that despite his order to law-enforcement authorities not to meddle in the local elections, Kocharian has himself signalled support for the controversial mayor of Gyumri, Vartan Ghukasian. The paper points to Thursday’s meeting in Yerevan between Kocharian and Ghukasian which was publicized by the presidential press office. It said the two men discussed economic programs to be implemented in Gyumri next year. This is construed by the paper as a clear signal to the authorities to ensure Ghukasian’s victory “at any cost.”
In an interview with “Orran,” Hanrapetutyun party leader Albert Bazeyan does not conceal his disappointment with the 16-party opposition coalition. He says the idea of opposition unity “seems to have depreciated.” “I have some concerns that the idea of a quick opposition consolidation was floated by other circles and was aimed at discrediting coalition forces with certain processes,” he says equivocally.