“Hraparak” believes that representatives of opposition candidate Raffi Hovannisian have presented Armenia’s Constitutional Court with less than convincing arguments in favor of annulling the official results of the February 18 presidential election. “But that does not negate the fact of the election falsification or boost the standing of the elected candidate [Serzh Sarkisian] in the public consciousness,” writes the paper. It says that hiding vote irregularities in a small country like Armenia is practically impossible.
“Aravot” says Hovannisian’s claims that he won the election are not necessarily substantiated even if it is true that there were many violations and that the official results are dubious to say the least. “Even considering all that, can the official runner-up in the election declare himself president of the republic?” the paper asks in an editorial. It says Hovannisian should come up with stronger arguments and some documentary evidence to press his case.
“Since there is no such document, maybe he could say that the elections were held in such a way that their official results cannot be credible, rather than ‘I was elected by the nation,’” continues “Aravot.” “That would also give the opposition some room for maneuver. Otherwise the opposition leader would put himself in a deadlocked situation.”
“Hayots Ashkhar” claims that Hovannisian is being used by unnamed foreign powers to “keep the Armenian government under strong pressure.” “A government which is now faced with a truly fateful choice on the external front,” writes the pro-presidential daily. It says the authorities therefore have a vested interest in “preserving Raffi Hovannisian and his precious health at any cost.”
“Chorrord Inknishkhanutyun” says Hovannisian’s decision to begin a hunger strike was a “drastic step” that somewhat changed the political situation in Armenia. “Raffi Hovannisian is going for broke and can really not back away anymore,” says the pro-opposition paper. “He cannot just get up and go home all of a sudden … The society seems to be divided these days. There are those who respect and support Raffi and those who deride and feel sorry for him. But respect, irony or empathy are not political categories. The society elected him to see regime change in Armenia. And there is only one question today: did it choose the right or wrong person to achieve that goal?”