Noting a lower turnout at Friday’s opposition rally, “Aravot” comments that most people would like to hear what the opposition plans to do to reopen the A1+ channel rather than mere anti-Kocharian rhetoric. There is a growing belief among the 13 opposition parties that no major problem can be resolved in Armenia without the removal of the current authorities.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” says the demonstrators on Friday agreed that the authorities will not reopen A1+ and that the TV station will be able to resume its broadcasts only after they resign. The paper says the opposition has confounded predictions that its campaign in support of A1+ will die down over time.
“Or” says the opposition speakers did not say anything new at Yerevan’s Freedom Square. “You won’t see any new faces on the stage. There is an impression that the so-called political elite has turned into an exclusive caste from which aliens are barred. New declarations can not be heard either. One gets an inexplicable feeling. It seems that you have once heard all of this,” the paper writes.
“Hayots Ashkhar” says opposition efforts to use the A1+ affair for political purposes are “gradually leading to deadlock.” Even the most disaffected and desperate people find the opposition’s actions boring. But in order to maintain public interest in street gatherings the opposition needs to take steps would violate the law. Sociologist Suren Zolian tells the paper that the vast majority of Armenians show little or no interest in politics.
Artashes Geghamian, the leader of the opposition National Unity party, believes that Kocharian will do extremely poorly if the next presidential elections are free and fair. Asked by “Haykakan Zhamanak” about his own chances, Geghamian says: “I believe in my victory and think that even Kocharian doesn’t doubt it.” He also welcomes the passionate speech delivered by Constitutional Court chairman Gagik Harutiunian during this week’s celebrations of the late Karen Demirchian’s 70th birthday anniversary. Geghamian says he is now convinced that Harutiunian will do his best to ensure that the next elections are not falsified.
Former foreign minister Raffi Hovannisian answers evasively an “Aravot” question about his participation in the polls. He indicates that his newly formed National Citizens’ Initiative will endorse some election candidates. Hovannisian criticizes both the government and opposition, saying that the former has lost the touch with the people, while the latter lacks flexibility and organization.