“Chorrord Inknishkhanutyun” says the current pre-election period in Armenia is “radically different from the previous ones.” The paper says that several months before the previous presidential elections a large number of opposition politicians rushed to announce their candidacies. “What is happening now is just the opposite,” it says. “Everyone is saying that they are not nominating their candidacies. This is so because the opposition tactics in these elections is different. Whereas the objective in 2003 and 2008 was to unite the opposition and act with a single candidate, the opposition now seems to have decided to follow a different path. Namely, all political forces will be acting with their own candidates, as a result of which Serzh Sarkisian will stand no chance of getting more than 50 percent of the vote. And the joint opposition candidate will automatically emerge in the second round [of voting.]”
“Aravot” also notes that it is still not known who Sarkisian’s opposition challengers will be. “But the election campaign has effectively started in a blind manner, so to speak,” editorializes the paper. It also deplores a lack of pluralism within just about every Armenian party, saying that key decisions are single-handedly made by their leaders and that this is one reason for the lack of democracy in the country.
“Zhamanak” says a statement on Gagik Tsarukian’s ongoing visit to Brussels that was issued by his Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) late on Wednesday amounted to the announcement of his presidential bid. “Tsarukian’s [presidential] candidacy does not hamper the Europeans in Armenia,” speculates the paper. “On the contrary, it may even help them as it could be used as a truncheon hanging over Serzh Sarkisian’s head. Having said that, the situation here is a bit relative because Tsarukian himself does not seem willing to pick up the truncheon and take on Sarkisian. Nevertheless, Europe is effectively giving Tsarukian the green light, apparently thinking that his nomination is more useful than his non-nomination.”
“Regardless of who nominates their candidacy, the authorities will win through fraud anyway because their victory is good for the Americans, the Russians and the Europeans,” Shahen Petrosian, a member of the opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK), tells “168 Zham.” None of the big foreign powers wants Armenia to have an “independent” leader, he claims.