“Haykakan Zhamanak” agrees with the opposition estimates that between 25,000 and 30,000 people attended Friday’s anti-presidential demonstration. In that sense the rally was definitely a success, the paper says. But what the opposition wants to do next remains unclear. Opposition leaders continue to be vague about that.
Among dozens of banners carried by opposition supporters stood out posters praising Artashes Geghamian, leader of National Unity, one of the three opposition parties that staged the protest. Observers predicted that the two other parties, the HZhK and Hanrapetutyun, were hardly happy with that. A leading member of Hanrapetutyun, Suren Sureniants, confirms this in separate interview with “Iravunk” and “Haykakan Zhamanak.” He says the slogans held by Geghamian supporters should have been “more general” in content and reflected “the needs of the day.”
“Iravunk” comments that Geghamian has again revealed his ambition to lead the opposition camp with an eye towards the next presidential election. The populist leader of National Unity is trying to take the center stage in opposition activities and Hanrapetutyun’s Aram Sarkisian and the HZhK’s Stepan Demirchian “in the shadow.” But neither the HZhK nor Hanrapetutyun are in a mood to become subordinated to Geghamian. “Certain tensions” between them are therefore inevitable.
“Hayots Ashkhar” derides all three opposition leaders, portraying them as inexperienced “toddlers” guided and manipulated by the former ruling Armenian Pan-National Movement (HHSh), their “baby-sitter.” The paper continues to assert that the HHSh and ex-president Levon Ter-Petrossian harbor serious hopes of returning to power.
Galust Sahakian of the governing Republican Party tells “Aravot” that the opposition assault on Kocharian is just “too personalized” and short on ideas and concrete policy proposals. Armenians are only being told to topple Kocharian without hearing a reasonable explanation why the change of the president would benefit their country, Sahakian complains.
“Yerkir” criticizes both the authorities and the opposition for the latest political tensions. The opposition is unwilling to acknowledge any positive changes in Armenia, while the authorities are too arrogant and intolerant of periodic street protests. The latter should stop ignoring objective reasons leading thousands of people to take to the streets, the paper says. It hopes that the standoff between the two sides will turn into a more civilized competition which will result in the alleviation of socioeconomic problems.