“Aravot” editorializes that the newly formed coalition of 16 Armenian opposition parties has only one goal: a change of regime. But it is still too early to say that those parties will overcome their ideological and personal differences and jointly contest next year’s presidential elections. Their leaders seem to realize the importance of having a single presidential candidate. But the paper wonders what, if any, common platform the oppositionists will draw up. Will it be liberal, socialist or other? “After all, a clear direction has to be chosen. But who is going to sacrifice his ideology?”
At least for one of those parties, the Communists, there can be no alternative to “socialism.” The party’s newspaper, “Hayastani Komunist,” berates the local nouveaux riches who “sack the people’s blood.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that the opposition parties have not even agreed on their decision-making procedures. Artashes Geghamian’s National Accord, for example, wants all decisions to be approved by a simple majority of the 16 parties. But the People’s Party (HZhK) is insisting on a consensus vote or at least two-thirds majority.
“Hayots Ashkhar” claims that HZhK leader Stepan Demirchian’s being a single candidate would be the “best variant” for Levon Ter-Petrosian’s allies. They are interested in having a weak government formed as a result of the elections. Demirchian’s perceived indecision and lack of a clear-cut line would pave the way for their return to power.
“Iravunk” comments that the lack of opposition interest in the October 20 local elections will enable the authorities to establish complete control over local governments. But those elections could also become “a catalyst for a rift among pro-government factions” whose interests do not always coincide. “Therefore, it will hardly be possible to form a united government team after October, which will definitely weaken Robert Kocharian’s positions in the presidential elections,” the paper concludes.
“Aravot” reports that the opposition is now discussing the possibility of renewing its campaign to bring impeachment proceedings against Kocharian. Three variants are being considered. All of them assume that parliament speaker Armen Khachatrian will again refuse to place the issue on the agenda of the National Assembly. Those are: seizing the parliament podium, boycotting parliament sessions and simply “doing nothing” in view of the approaching presidential elections. The paper says, disapprovingly, that most opposition parties are leaning towards the third option.
The head of the Yerevan office of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Ambassador Roy Reeve, tells “Orran” that there still exist “serious problems” with freedom of speech in Armenia. Reeve says the OSCE is all the more concerned with those problems in the light of the upcoming elections.