“Aravot” claims in an editorial that the Armenian authorities are increasingly discriminating against media outlets that are not sympathetic to them. For instance, journalists accompanying President Kocharian and other top officials on foreign trips all represent pro-government news channels and newspapers. Papers like “Aravot” and “Haykakan Zhamanak” have been unable to cover Kocharian’s visits abroad and to different part of the country for the last two years. The paper also cites instances of threats and intimidation against their journalists.
“Iravunk” looks at the anti-presidential camp in the Armenian political arena, saying that it is divided into two “poles,” one of them led by the former Armenian Pan-National Movement (HHSh) and its allies and the other by the recently created Hanrapetutyun party. The People’s Party (HZhK) and the Communists have been toying with the idea of joining forces with Hanrapetutyun for some time. But even if they do form an alliance, the paper says, they will stand no chance of winning the next presidential or parliamentary elections. The only question is how “manageable” the HZhK will be for the authorities.
“Zhamanak” reports that the governing Republican Party (HHK) will respond to the recent HZhK accusations at its next congress which opens on Saturday. The accusations, which mainly revolve around the government’s track record, are not only “subjective” but “absurd,” the Republican-controlled paper says. Their purpose is to pit Prime Minister Markarian against Kocharian and revive the turmoil that paralyzed the country’s leadership from October 1999 to May 2000. The head of the HHK’s parliamentary faction, Galust Sahakian, complains that the HZhK board is now dominated by hard-liners.
“If I were the president of the Republic of Armenia I would not want others to support me just because they trust me as a person,” National Democratic Union leader Vazgen Manukian tells “Iravunk.” People must place their faith “in greater things,” he says, commenting on Kocharian’s Karabakh policy. Manukian says he is very pessimistic about the possibility of finding a solution that would be acceptable to the peoples and political elites of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Karabakh.
“Zhamanak” writes that the “euphoria” about prospects for Karabakh peace that followed the talks in Key West has proved misplaced. The mediators could not have done “magic” when one of the parties, Azerbaijan, is unwilling to compromise. The paper says Aliev has backtracked on agreements reached in Florida and, earlier, in Paris.