The leader of the pro-government Miasnutyun faction of the Armenian parliament, Galust Sahakian, denounces his opposition colleagues for complaining to Council of Europe Secretary General Walter Schwimmer about the lack of democracy in Armenia at a meeting on Tuesday. He tells “Hayots Ashkhar” that leaders of the opposition factions presented a “distorted picture of the political situation” in the country. “I don’t think that Schwimmer was impressed with that,” Sahakian says.
One of the opposition deputies tells “Haykakan Zhamanak” that the authorities could dissolve the parliament and call fresh elections this fall. Grigor Harutiunian of the People’s Party (HZhK) argues that the governing Republican Party (HHK) fears that after securing his reelection early next year President Robert Kocharian could no longer be interested in the HHK’s victory in the subsequent parliamentary elections.
“Hayots Ashkhar” remarks that the August 11 presidential elections in Karabakh arouse more discussions in Yerevan than Stepanakert. The paper blames the Armenian opposition for creating an “unhealthy atmosphere” surrounding the Karabakh vote. This is part of its own presidential election campaign. The paper goes on to warn the opposition against “exporting” its methods of political struggle to Karabakh. “Any, even a minor, shortcoming registered during the NKR elections would be immediately used by Azerbaijan.” This would in turn deepen Karabakh’s “relative isolation from the outside world” and undermine the international standing of its authorities.
According to “Haykakan Zhamanak,” opposition leader Hrant Khachatrian’s possible participation in the Karabakh elections would have “extremely negative consequences” for Armenia. “If we say that the NKR is an integral part of Armenia, that means that we do not recognize Armenia’s internationally recognized borders,” the paper writes. This would make it easier for foreign powers to demand from Armenia to cede the Meghri district to Azerbaijan.
“Orran” believes that the Karabakh authorities’ refusal to register Khachatrian as a candidate on the grounds that he is not a Karabakh citizen will be used by the Armenian opposition against Kocharian. The latter has long been accused by his opponents of breaching an Armenian law which requires presidential candidates to have resided in the Republic of Armenia for at least ten years. Kocharian’s supporters had argued back in 1998 that Karabakh is not a foreign territory.