(Saturday, April 14)
“Serzh Sarkisian says he will reveal the name of the [next] defense minister on April 24,” writes “Chorrord Ishkhanutyun.” “Note that the defense minister is appointed not by the prime minister but the president. So theoretically Serzh Sarkisian can not say anything. But his presidential ‘habits’ are already eye-catching, and he is not adhering to formalities anymore.”
“Hayk” says the Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) of Gagik Tsarukian has tried to distance itself from the authorities and President Robert Kocharian in particular of late, saying that it is neither in opposition nor in government. The paper suspects that the party itself organized last week’s explosions outside two of its offices in Yerevan in order to develop the reputation of a “persecuted” force. “But regardless of that, the fact that Prosperous Armenia’s proportional list includes a number of officials from the presidential administration is enough to once again convince us who that party is catering for,” it says.
“The presently divided and split opposition has to admit that none of the various pre-election arithmetical calculations will work this time around because none of the 20 parties considering themselves opposition has a real chance to clear the 5 percent [vote] barrier,” writes “Zhamanak Yerevan.” “Even if we proceed from the assumption that the disaffected voters make up 80 percent of the electorate and that each of the 20 opposition parties has an average of 4 percent support, the protest electorate will get a zero reward for its ballots cast for them.”
“Aravot” quotes a spokeswoman for Victor Dallakian as saying that the opposition parliamentarian seeking reelection to the National Assembly has been denied permission to meet schoolteachers in his constituency in northern Armenia. According to Gayane Rafaelian, local school principals have said that they can not let Dallakian visit their schools without the regional governor’s permission. “And yet the other candidates in the electoral district No. 30 have held meetings and handed out presents in all schools,” she says.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that a group of women supporting another election candidate, retired General Seyran Saroyan, have physically attacked supporters of Hakob Hakobian, his main rival disqualified from the race. “Interestingly, as our sources point out, the female attackers were outnumbered by their victims,” says the paper. “The beating started without any reason. The general’s supporters simply learned that in front of them are people close to Hakobian and assaulted them.” Police have not launched criminal proceedings in connection with the reported incident.