“Aravot” says that some Armenian presidential candidates use phony opinion polls for their campaign purposes. The paper casts doubt on the credibility of recent surveys gauging public opinion ahead of the February 19 presidential vote. Lyudmila Harutiunian, a leading Armenian sociologist, shares the skepticism, saying that there are many “non-professional [polling] groups that are doing PR rather than sociology.”
“Aravot” also says that another key question in the presidential election campaign is whether the Central Election Commission will register Raffi Hovannisian as a presidential candidate or will not allow him to contest the elections on the grounds that he does not have a 10-year Armenian citizenship. The paper says Hovannisian’s registration would be justified in “the human, moral and political sense,” but not from the legal standpoint. Both Hovannisian and Robert Kocharian, it says, are not eligible to run in the elections.
Kocharian’s alleged political “illegitimacy” is also mentioned in “Haykakan Zhamanak” by a leading member of the opposition People’s Party of Armenia (HZhK), Stepan Zakarian. “Certainly, there is no individual like Vazgen Sarkisian in the ranks of the current regime,” he says. “Therefore, nobody can persuade political forces and the public this time around that we have to put up with an illegitimate president in order to resolve our vital problem: the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.”
“Hayots Ashkhar” brands this line of argument “false legal manipulations.” The paper says Kocharian’s eligibility is obvious and easy to prove. It says questions about his legitimacy are raised by supporters of former President Levon Ter-Petrosian who want to “prepare ground for a post-election political revanche or, more specifically, a coup d’etat.” “Undue parallels” between Kocharian’s and Raffi Hovannisian’s eligibility are part of the same effort.
Dashnaktsutyun lawmaker Kim Balayan tells “Hayots Ashkhar” that even the most friendly foreign powers want to gain leverage against Armenia with the help of their special services. He claims that some of the Armenian presidential candidates were nominated to “carry out orders of external special forces.” In any case, Balayan is convinced that Kocharian will get reelected if he “properly organizes his election campaign.”