“Aravot” writes in its editorial that despite the fact that current oppositionists from time to time declare that the opposition in Armenia is getting consolidated and a powerful public wave is imminent, no hallmarks of this consolidation can be seen yet. The paper depicts a grim picture of the upcoming elections: “It is apparent that there will be no violence, ballot stuffing and other unpleasant things during the elections. Simply the ‘needed’ figures will be drawn, as it happened during the referendum on constitutional amendments.”
In a “Hayots Ashkhar” interview, National-Democratic Union (AZhM) leader Vazgen Manukian does not rule out that a political bloc of liberal opposition forces will be formed in the run-up to the elections. At the same time, he considers it equally likely that the future parliamentary elections will be boycotted, “especially if we see that there is no real precondition for holding fair elections.”
“Iravunk” analyzes the electoral list of the Republican Party after its July 22 congress: “Many individuals with money and power who got their membership tickets only a month before appeared on the party’s list of candidates likely to be successful in the elections. Meanwhile, veteran Republicans with less money and without administrative resources may remain without a seat and an ‘explosion’ from within may happen in the party.” Thus, the weekly predicts that the Republican leader, Prime Minister Andranik Markarian will have to make a hard choice who to side with.
“Zhamanak Yerevan” reports that different officials today turn to Gagik Tsarukian asking him to admit them to his Prosperous Armenia party, which is increasingly growing in size. For some of them, the paper writes, a denial becomes a surprise. “Zhamanak Yerevan” writes that even such influential figures as MP Samvel Aleksanian, Minister of Transport and Communications Andranik Manukian and others got rejections. “In some cases the rejection is explained by the fear that party membership of a certain figure may discredit the party, and in other cases that a person’s party membership may discredit him personally,” the paper writes, suggesting that the real decision-maker on this is not Armenia’s tycoon Gagik Tsarukian, but President Robert Kocharian, who is ‘actively engaged in drawing the map of the future parliament.’
Citing a well-informed source at the Prosecutor-General’s Office, “Iravunk” writes that a list of millionaires in Armenia will be published soon. The paper suggests that the top five millionaires in Armenia are: President Robert Kocharian (more than a billion dollars), Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian (more than a billion), tycoons Mikhail Baghdasarov (about one billion) and Gagik Tsarukian (one billion), Central Bank Chairman Tigran Sarkisian (between 500 million and one billion). The number of millionaires, according to “Iravunk”, reaches a hundred.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” writes that one of the foreign ambassadors working in Armenia recently transferred to the country’s authorities an audio tape in which one of the incumbent ministers of Armenia allegedly demanded a $3-million bribe from a businessman of that country. According to the paper, “the Armenian authorities promised the ambassador to investigate the case, but three weeks later said that the authenticity of the audio tape could not be trusted.”