“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that six more non-governmental organizations have joined an appeal to Levon Ter-Petrosian to join the presidential race. One of them deals with women’s affairs, while another bears the name “People for Healthy Lifestyle.” Supporters of the ex-president are also busy forming “initiative groups” that are ready to nominate him as a presidential candidate.
“Aravot” cautions that such initiatives so far involve those who have traditionally supported Ter-Petrosian and it is still not clear whether his support base will expand in the run-up to the elections. The paper says no one except Ter-Petrosian knows for certain whether or not he will run in the elections. It wonders whether there have been any voter surveys to determine the extent of public support for the former president. “It would be naïve to think that public discontent with the current president will automatically add points to Ter-Petrosian.” The paper, which itself is quite sympathetic to Ter-Petrosian, also notes that he has not yet acknowledged any of his policy mistakes. “And yet, we can see consequences of his mistakes today. Namely, the clan-based system of state governance with Robert Kocharian at its helm.”
“Hayots Ashkhar” claims that most of those NGOs are fictitious and moribund structures operating under the umbrella of the Armenian Pan-National Movement (HHSh). The paper calculates that they unite no more than 200 people.
“Hayastani Hanrapetutyun” quotes HHSh deputy chairman Andranik Hovakimian as saying that Ter-Petrosian is not consulting with anyone in his pre-election deliberations. “His position has not been ascertained,” Hovakimian claims. He says the former ruling party will put forwards its presidential candidate even if Ter-Petrosian decides against participating in the elections.
“Orran,” meanwhile, attacks the drastic rise in senior officials’ salaries sought by the government. The pro-opposition daily denounces the proposed measure as an “insult to the people.” “This means that the incumbent president does not care about the popular vote. This also means that the incumbent president only cares about the vote of the state apparatus and bureaucracy, that they are the ones who will bring him to power and that he will be reelected president for them.”
U.S. Ambassador John Ordway tells “Hayots Ashkhar” that a resumption of the war in Nagorno-Karabakh would have “devastating” effects on both Armenia and Azerbaijan. He says the threat of renewed fighting will linger on as long as there is no breakthrough in the peace talks. Ordway also says that the victory of an Islamist party in Turkey’s general elections will not affect the close U.S.-Turkish relations.