“Haykakan Zhamanak” observes that delegates at the weekend congress of the governing Republican Party of Armenia (HHK), which endorsed Robert Kocharian’s reelection plans, lacked the “enthusiasm” which one would expect on such an occasion.
“Orran” also makes the same point, but notes that the Republicans, unlike other pro-presidential forces, were rather reserved in expressing their support for the incumbent. There was no rapturous applause or grandiose speeches heaping praise on Kocharian. The pre-election conference of the Orinats Yerkir party, for example, was full of “unprecedented populism.
“Iravunk” accuses the state propaganda machine of resorting to “the most rude and dishonest methods” to promote Kocharian. Major television channels endlessly feature various government officials who present “rosy figures showing how fast has a particular area developed under Robert Kocharian.” “It is obvious that Kocharian’s victory in the first round of the elections is impossible with more or less legal methods. And in the event of a second round, his defeat will be inevitable. Under these circumstances, the authorities have no option but to resort to large-scale fraud.”
“Orran” thinks that the government officials and politicians extolling Kocharian’s virtues on various television shows are in fact paying lip service to the president. Such an aggressive pro-Kocharian propaganda, which has begun more than a month before the official start of election campaigning, may backfire. This leads the paper to conclude that “everybody is now working against the incumbent president.”
“Golos Armenii” says a new legal provision requiring $10,000 deposits from presidential candidates does not seem to be reducing their number. The paper asks where they get that money from and itself partly answers the question, saying that “politics is a profitable business” in Armenia. The status of presidential candidate gives its holders an aura of respectability inside and outside the country. That in turn gives them access to financial grants from international organizations.
“Hayots Ashkhar” says that the HZhK and Hanrapetutyun parties hoped to serve as a consolidating link between left-wing opposition parties and right-wing political groups supporting former President Levon Ter-Petrosian. But what happened recently was quite the opposite. The paper says the two parties can now either rally around Artashes Geghamian or rely heavily on Ter-Petrosian allies. Either way, they are unlikely to become dominant political actors.