“Aravot” says there are five “real” presidential candidates in Armenia and presents their comparative analysis. It says the most influential of them, Robert Kocharian’s biggest failure is the fact that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict remains unresolved. In order to be able to resolve the conflict, he has to win next week’s elections in a landslide and without vote rigging. This, the paper says, will not happen, even though Kocharian will be declared president after the first round. “But whom are we going to deceive with that?” it asks.
Turning to the opposition candidates, “Aravot” says Stepan Demirchian has many supporters because he never held a government post and could not do anything bad. “Nobody, including himself, knows what Demirchian would do if elected president.” The paper is far more critical of Artashes Geghamian, saying that he is narrow-minded and intolerant. “Artashes Geghamian is an unbalanced politician. He often switches sides between the opposition and government and morbidly adores himself. It can be assumed that after the elections he will once again take the government’s side and seek to get a government post from Kocharian’s hands.” As for Vazgen Manukian, the paper says his “positive deeds” outweigh negative ones.
“Golos Armenii” says the fact that there are several opposition candidates only makes it easier for Kocharian to win the ballot. Voters will never hear a single and understandable message from the opposition.
“Hayots Ashkhar” quotes several pro-presidential lawmakers as saying that the incumbent will win outright in the first round. Most of them think that Demirchian will come in a distant second. But two deputies representing the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) believe that Manukian has better chances than Demirchian. Dashnaktsutyun’s Vahan Hovannisian says only Kocharian and Manukian have a “moral right” to run for president. The other contenders are not fit for that role, according to him. Hovannisian also believes that Kocharian can hold a fair election and avoid a run-off vote. But he warns that some unnamed “toadies that have infiltrated the presidential camp” might spoil the party.
“Hayots Ashkhar” tries to scare voters away from Demirchian with claims that he is backed by some supporters of former President Levon Ter-Petrosian. The paper claims that the former ruling Armenian Pan-National Movement (HHSh) hopes for a Demirchian victory even though it does not admit that. Demirchian, it says, is a therefore “an ordinary instrument” in a broader HHSh conspiracy against Kocharian.
“Our contacts with the public show that the people unequivocally reject the current authorities and the situation in which Armenia is now,” Hanrapetutyun party leader Albert Bazeyan tells “Haykakan Zhamanak.” Bazeyan says Armenians are following the current presidential campaign more closely than they did in the past. He says Demirchian’s chances of victory are much better than Kocharian’s.