"Hraparak” says with satisfaction that clear signs of the presidential race are finally beginning to emerge in Armenia, withdrawing its earlier prediction that the February 2013 presidential election will be “the dullest” in the country’s history. The paper argues that Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) leader Gagik Tsarukian is poised to enter the fray along with several other prominent political figures, including a woman. It says the unfolding “fierce struggle” should give Armenians a “fairly broad choice.” “In these circumstances, even a second round of voting should not be ruled out,” it says.
“Hayots Ashkhar” says the BHK and opposition forces have held political consultations in recent weeks only for the sake of a “process,” rather than an end result. “It was clear to everyone that the purpose of the political consultations was to eventually agree on a joint [presidential] candidate,” writes the paper. It says at the same time that the opposition parties did not discuss any concrete candidacies because they realize that an agreement on that is hardly possible at this stage.
“Zhamanak” lists companies and areas of economic activity which it says are controlled by Gagik Khachatrian, head of the State Revenue Committee (SRC). The paper claims that Khachatrian’s deep involvement in business and economic monopolies in particular makes mockery of the Armenian government’s stated efforts to improve the business environment. “When this strategically important area (i.e., tax collection) is run by a very wealthy businessman aspiring to be have a monopoly or at least oligopolic positions in sectors such as information technology, this constitutes a strategic threat to our national security which should be quickly addressed,” it says.
“Aravot” defends Armenian non-governmental organizations financed by foreign governments and institutions against criticism frequently voiced by government supporters. “I don’t exclude that NGOs taking foreign grants resort to some kind of fraud,” the paper’s editor, Aram Abrahamian, writes in a commentary. “But the $1,000 that might be pocketed by a grant-dependent NGO through such machinations is just childish mischief-making in comparison to the millions [of dollars] misappropriated by Armenian government members.”