Political activities in the pre-campaign period

As the time left to the 2008 presidential elections ticks away, political circles are once again beginning to activate. In an interview in the Pastark (Argument) Club, Ararat Zurabyan, head of the HHSh (Armenian National Movement) stated that his party will nominate Levon Ter-Petrosyan to run for president in 2008. Speculations on Mr. Ter-Petrosyan’s possible candidacy have been steadily growing for the past several months, and this interview will serve only to fuel them further. Nevertheless, it appears, that Mr. Zurabyan has not discussed the issue with Mr. Ter-Petrosyan himself, and is unaware if the latter has indeed any intention of running, relying rather on personal hopes.This issue is of great significance to any further developments surrounding the elections. The entry of Levon Ter-Petrosyan into the race would definitely shake the opposition landscape. Nevertheless, ever since stepping down, Mr. Ter-Petrosyan has stayed well clear of politics and the public eye in general. Unlike most opposition leaders, who tend to run for president having scarcely any chance of succeeding, it is unlikely that Mr. Ter-Petrosyan would subject himself to public attention and possible humiliation of defeat, without having good chances of success.

Meanwhile talks of the opposition unifying are still in the air. Paruyr Hayrikyan, a long time political figure and soviet era dissident, arranged a meeting of opposition leaders, to discuss forming a united front. The news, however, came down sceptically with the general public. Mr. Hayrikan has not long ago been quoted defending his person as the single possible fit for presidency, and it is yet unclear if he himself will remain committed to a united opposition, if it is lead by somebody other than him.

So far, fairly reasonable ideas of holding opposition primaries, once voiced by some leaders, appear far from reality. The lack of distinctive leaders in the opposition field makes it hard for a united front to be formed, and the entry of Mr. Ter-Petrosyan could indeed consolidate the field, albeit, around a person, who has a good chance of further alienating the opposition in the eyes of the public.

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