“Aravot” predicts the following official results of the May 25 elections: the Republican Party – 35 percent, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) – 25 percent, the National Unity party – 15 percent, the Artarutyun bloc – 10 percent. Three other pro-presidential parties will get 5 percent each, according to the paper’s scenario. “Naturally, this figures will be far from the real expression of voters’ will.” According to “Aravot,” falsifications will be so large-scale that the Republicans will be shown winning seven times more votes than they really get, while the Dashnaks will be given twice as many parliament seats as they would have won in a fair contest. As for Stepan Demirchian’s Artarutyun, it will be robbed of two thirds of its votes.
“Iravunk” sees growing mutual antagonism among parties supporting Robert Kocharian. The paper says there is also friction between opposition forces. Artashes Geghamian’s National Unity, for example, is now more prone to attack Demirchian than the authorities.
“Iravunk” also believes that if Republican leader Andranik Markarian is re-appointed prime minister as a result of the elections he will find it much more difficult to secure more loans from Western lending institutions. The same, it says, is true for Kocharian’s chief of staff, Artashes Tumanian. Kocharian does not want any political party to have a clear majority in the National Assembly because he would like to have a free hand in choosing a pro-Western prime minister, just like his predecessor Levon Ter-Petrosian did after his equally controversial reelection in 1996.
A leading member of the Republican Party (HHK), Galust Sahakian, complains in an interview with “Iravunk” that the HHK is facing stronger attacks from pro-Kocharian parties than the opposition. Sahakian slams unnamed political “newcomers” who call for major changes in the Armenian government. “This blackmail style is having effects on the people, which I consider very dangerous,” he says. “The pro-government camp is throwing mud at the Republican Party in order to clinch votes [from the opposition electorate].”
“Hayots Ashkhar” reports that the Central Election Commission (CEC) has turned down OSCE observers’ request to publish preliminary election results from all polling stations within 12 hours from the closure of polls, as is required by Armenian law. CEC Artak Sahradian says the precinct election commissions are physically unable to meet the legal deadline.