“Azg” comments that former Foreign Minister Raffi Hovannisian’s election campaign is gaining momentum despite his likely failure to register with the Central Election Commission. The paper says Hovannisian has made his presidential bid with an eye towards the future. “He will actively participate in the parliamentary elections of 2007 as a political force.”
“Hayots Ashkhar” is more preoccupied with the fact that Hovannisian uttered no “unpleasant words” about the former authorities and Levon Ter-Petrosian in particular at a news conference on Tuesday. The paper argues that it is Ter-Petrosian who refused to grant Hovannisian an Armenian passport.
“Orran” says Hovannisian has launched “the most direct and targeted attack” which President Kocharian has ever faced. Kocharian, it says, will have trouble proving that he is eligible for the Armenian presidency.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” puts the emphasis on Hovannisian’s claims that he would easily defeat Kocharian in a free and fair ballot. “Hovannisian referred not to a single opposition, but to himself. His statements give a full picture of the extent of this politician’s cockiness. Instead of singing odes to himself, Hovannisian had better talk in a language understandable to the people of Armenia. We are sick and tired of presidential candidates -- and especially presidents -- with non-Armenian accents,” the pro-opposition daily says in a jab at Kocharian’s Karabakh dialect.
“Hayastani Hanrapetutyun” complains that opposition candidates continuously criticize the authorities without suggesting policy prescriptions of their own. They promise to make things better, but won’t say how.
In an interview with “Hayots Ashkhar,” pollster and social psychologist Aharon Adibekian says most Armenian voters yearn for stability. “Our people are not revolutionaries at home,” he says, adding that the voters primarily think about their present, not future. According to Adibekian’s forecast, the voter turn-out in the February 19 elections will hover between 55 and 60 percent.
Former Interior Minister Suren Abrahamian tells “Aravot” that the existing political atmosphere in Armenia bodes well for politically motivated contract killings. He says that the pro-government media began sharing this view after the December 28 killing of Tigran Naghdalian. Abrahamian calls for the creation of a “united front against terrorism.” Tough laws alone can not address the problem. “It simply should not occur to anyone that things can be achieve in that way (i.e., by violence),” Abrahamian says.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” claims that the state-run Armenian Airlines will be sold to Russia’s Siberian Airlines carrier “in several days’ time.” The paper says details of the deal are expected to be ascertained during Kocharian’s visit to Russia “after it becomes clear what the Armenian authorities are ready to give Russia in exchange for Russian support in the presidential elections.”