“Haykakan Zhamanak” plans to conduct an opinion poll among its readers about who they think should be Armenia’s president. The candidates are Robert Kocharian, Levon Ter-Petrosian, Stepan Demirchian, Aram Sarkisian, Artashes Geghamian and Artur Baghdasarian. The paper asks the readers to fill out a questionnaire which will appear in its June 17 issue. It argues that there have so far been no credible surveys to determine the approval ratings of the leading Armenian politicians.
“Hayots Ashkhar” writes that Friday’s opposition rally in Yerevan exposed not only the failure of the opposition’s spring campaign for Kocharian’s ouster but also the collapse of the alliance forged by Demirchian, Geghamian and Aram Sarkisian. “From now on, the more rallies the radicals hold, the thinner will be their crowds,” the paper writes, again calling for the emergence of a new opposition force. The only force that has the “intellectual potential” to lead the opposition camp is the former ruling Armenian Pan-National Movement (HHSh). “But the people have still not forgotten its not-so-distant past,” the paper says.
Ara Sahakian, a prominent HHSh figure, likens the political situation in Armenia to a boxing fight. “Kocharian tied the opposition’s hands and eyes and is fighting with it,” he says. “To the opposition’s credit, even in these unequal conditions it looks more dignified and convincing.”
Geghamian, meanwhile, tells “Haykakan Zhamanak” that he will not attack Kocharian at the upcoming session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg because his criticism would deal a further blow to Armenia’s international reputation.
“Iravunk” predicts structural changes inside both the government and the opposition during the summer months. The paper says the presidential administration is signaling Kocharian’s plans for “drastic” staff changes which would lead to the dismissal of some unpopular ministers. The opposition, for its part, may well change its tactics and the “format” of its leadership.
“Golos Armenii” shrugs off rosy macroeconomic statistics cited by the government and claims that the socioeconomic situation in the country is actually deteriorating. The paper points to the “uneven distribution” of the benefits of the economic growth. “The government’s inadmissible actions are provoking a similar reaction from the oppositionists. The low level of [government] officials predetermines the low level of their chosen rivals.”