“Haykakan Zhamanak” says that the recent series of street protests organized by the Armenian opposition has failed to achieve its main objectives. Still, the campaign did not end without results. The opposition has gained more political experience and brought more clarity into the political landscape. For instance, the circle of politicians aspiring to become the opposition’s joint candidate in next year’s presidential elections has narrowed. Only three of them can take on that role: Stepan Demirchian, Artashes Geghamian and Vazgen Manukian. The opposition has also demonstrated that it can easily rally at least 6,000 or 7,000 people in the streets of Yerevan. “This is the number that, if need be, can restrain the atmosphere of [government] impunity and serve as a basis for more massive undertakings.”
Political scientist Aghasi Yenokian writes in “Orran” that President Kocharian lacks an objective understanding of Armenia’s political realities. That is why his recent actions, including a long trip to South America and the Armenia-Diaspora conference, were “meaningless” and ineffective. Yenokian says Kocharian receives information about the state of affairs in the country mostly from pro-presidential media that are ceaselessly kowtowing to him.
“Hayots Ashkhar” is worried that the opposition might succeed in “bringing Armenia to a forced standstill in the run-up to the 2003 presidential elections.” In that case, the paper says, it is the country as a whole, not just its government, that will be at a loss.
“Azg” attacks the parliament’s pro-Kocharian majority for its efforts to kill the impeachment initiative with “the most disgraceful methods.” While the majority’s tactics may be justified in the political sense, it is extremely dangerous “in terms of the prestige of the country and [Armenian] statehood.” By avoiding a parliament debate on impeaching Kocharian the Miasnutyun faction exposes its inability to confront the opposition head-on, puts “Armenia’s political authority” in jeopardy and thereby pays a lip service to the president.
Interviewed by “Hayots Ashkhar,” a leading member of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun), Vahan Hovannisian, casts doubt on the credibility of press reports that the interior ministry will soon be split into three different agencies, one of which will be given to the nationalist party. Hovannisian, who also heads the parliament committee on defense and security, says he has received “no official information to that effect.”