“The pre-election campaign officially has not yet begun but future participants [of the elections] are already actively looking for sponsors,” comments “Hayots Ashkhar.” The paper says the key question preoccupying them is: “Who will give and how much? This question predetermines the programs and ambitions of all parties. And it is already evident that money is being handed out not as lavishly as it was in the past but with greatest care. But these are secondary circumstances because the answer to the main question has still not been found. What does it take to win the elections?”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” says the Armenian political agenda has not undergone major changes and basically revolves around two questions. “Will Robert Kocharian and Serzh Sarkisian manage to peacefully divide power? And if so, how?” “All those who will vote for the [Sarkisian-led] HHK in the parliamentary elections will also vote for Serzh Sarkisian’s election as president,” editorializes the paper. “Those voting for Prosperous Armenia will also vote in favor of Robert Kocharian becoming prime minister. This is the only reality.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that both Prosperous Armenia and the HHK have said they will submit the lists of their candidates to the Central Election Commission on February 26. “These statements contain illegal elements in the sense that Robert Kocharian has not yet set an official date for the elections,” says the paper. It suggests that the two parties have already divided seats in the next parliament and just cannot wait for the official start of the electoral race.
According to “168 Zham,” the electoral slates of the main Armenian parties are essentially ready. “The bottom line is that rank-and-file members of those parties will not participate in the drawing up of those lists in any way,” says the paper. It does not exclude minor revisions in the lists, but insists that “they will not undergo serious changes.”
“The people are now so experienced that they have little faith in words,” sociologist Lyudmila Harutiunian tells “Aravot.” That is why, she says, many of them were impressed with the distribution of potatoes and other agricultural aid by Gagik Tsarukian’s Prosperous Armenia. She says it is therefore wrong to believe that condemning corruption and injustice would earn other parties many votes.