“Aravot” comments on opposition leader Aram Sarkisian’s remark that winning the upcoming election is a “matter of life or death” for the Armenian authorities. “Unfortunately, that observation is also true for the opposition,” editorializes the paper. “Maybe it’s time to change the mentality of our political elite.” It says that just because an Armenian citizen wants to vote for Serzh Sarkisian does not mean that he or she is a “chronic plunderer” or has been bribed by the authorities. By the same token, those Armenians who want to see Ter-Petrosian back in power are not necessarily keen to “destabilize the situation” in the country.
Gevorg Poghosian, chairman of the Armenian Sociological Association, tells “Hayastani Hanrapetutyun” that Ter-Petrosian may have “serious political experience” but is too unpopular to pose a serious threat to Serzh Sarkisian. “It is amazing when they say that the number one candidate will compete against the number five candidate,” the pollster says. Poghosian also predicts that the presidential election will involve two rounds of voting. Sarkisian will be challenged in the second round by an “opposition candidate,” rather than the candidate of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun), he says.
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” brushes aside speculation that Ter-Petrosian’s political comeback was part of his secret deal with Robert Kocharian and Serzh Sarkisian. The opposition paper says that if Ter-Petrosian had joined the presidential race with Kocharian’s and Sarkisian’s approval, the pro-government media would have treated him with “deep respect.” “And naturally, Levon Ter-Petrosian would have spoken not about dismantling the gangster state but rectifying some geopolitical vectors,” it says.
In an interview with “Hayots Ashkhar,” Kosovo Harutiunian, the leader of a small pro-government party who had served as prime minister in the Ter-Petrosian administration, accuses the ex-president and his allies of trying to achieve their goals at any cost. Harutiunian specifically refers to their attacks on other opposition politicians who have refused to rally around Ter-Petrosian. He says their aim is to “escalate the situation.”
“Hayk” reports that the Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) organized a New Year’s party this week at an expensive restaurant in Yerevan’s northern Avan district for some 600 local schoolteachers and other public sector employees. The paper says Prime Minister Sarkisian, his deputy Hovik Abrahamian, Yerevan Mayor Yervand Zakharian and oligarch Gagik Tsarukian personally attended the event. “Serzh Sarkisian even danced to prove to the guests that he is in high spirits,” it adds.