“Hayots Ashkhar” dismisses assertions that former President Levon Ter-Petrosian is distancing himself from his former entourage and trying to form a new, more representative political team. “For an attentive observer, it quickly becomes obvious that Ter-Petrosian’s campaign strategy assigns to rally figures the mission of being part of the overall show, rather than expressing political positions,” says the paper. It says Ter-Petrosian continues to rely on his old team, including Vano Siradeghian, his fugitive former interior minister.
“Taregir” reports that opposition leader Stepan Demirchian attended last month the wedding party of a young activist of his People’s Party of Armenia (HZhK) who had been controversially imprisoned for throwing a plastic bottle at a police officer during the break-up of an April 2004 opposition protest in Yerevan. The paper says Demirchian used the occasion to urge all party guests to vote for Ter-Petrosian. “They received the call with rapturous applause,” it says.
“168 Zham” reports that the tax authorities will launch a financial investigation into yet another business owned by Khachatur, a Ter-Petrosian-connected tycoon. “In all likelihood, new ordeals await the businessman who has voiced support for Ter-Petrosian,” says the paper. It says Sukiasian’s Armeconombank, one of Armenia’s largest commercial banks, may thus face “serious problems” and even go through a change of ownership as a result.
‘Haykakan Zhamanak” takes a critical look at the announced purchase of President Robert Kocharian’s new aircraft worth $45 million. Kocharian’s office said on Monday that one of third of the sum was donated by unspecified “Armenian benefactors.” “All this would have been less fishy if the names of the donors had been made public,” comments the paper. “In that case the Armenian public would have been able to draw a conclusion. In particular, if the names of those benefactors had been made public it would have probably been clear why they decided to give Armenia such a present. In other words, the secrecy of the source of the money leads one to suspect that perhaps the donors are paying the government back for being able to have a monopoly on or doing business in a particular [economic] sphere in Armenia.”