(Saturday, September 8)
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” wonders with what Armenians associate their former President Levon Ter-Petrosian and gives the following answer. “Independence, war, years of cold and darkness,” says the paper sympathetic to him. “Yes, the government’s propaganda machine has eventually achieved its goal. Levon Ter-Petrosian’s name is associated with the years of cold and darkness as well. But note that all of these three phenomena were extremely serious challenges that faced Armenia, and during Levon Ter-Petrosian’s years in power all of them were successfully met. Armenia established itself as an independent state; we won the war; Armenia overcame the energy crisis.”
“And now let us try to understand with what Serzh Sarkisian’s name is being associated,” continues “Chorrord Ishkhanutyun.” “Approach anyone on the street and mention Serzh Sarkisian. There will be three main associations: corruption, Monte Carlo, [his notorious brother] Sashik. Does someone, who used to be a Komsomol activist, then an HHSh member, then a Republican and changed his party affiliation the moment he felt that the former team is losing power, have the moral right to run for president of Armenia?”
“Hayots Ashkhar” asserts that the presidential election of 2008 will amount to a “referendum of confidence in Serzh Sarkisian.” “The electorate will not be electing a president but will instead be answering a single question. Does it trust Serzh Sarkisian?” says the pro-Sarkisian paper.
“Aravot” says that according to an opinion poll conducted by the Armenian Sociological Association, Sarkisian would have polled 23 percent of the vote if the election had been held in July. The polling organization is cited as saying that 13 percent of respondents said they will never vote for him. Just over half of them have a positive opinion about the Armenian premier. Only opposition leader Raffi Hovannisian had a higher approval rating. It stood at 82 percent as of July, according to the paper.
“Iskakan Iravunk” reveals that a little-known think-tank headed by Garnik Isagulian, President Robert Kocharian’s national security adviser, received 108 million drams ($318,000) in government funding last year. “Have you ever seen political research done by that institute or its results?” the paper asks readers. “Or have you ever seen Garnik Isagulian express a whiff of political thought in a public speech, rather than do the opposite and become the subject of ridicule by politicians and journalists? Of course you haven’t.”