A disappointed “Orran” accuses the 16-party opposition alliance of inaction, saying that the Friday meeting of its coordinating council did not decide anything. The opposition forces have thus exposed the fact that their umbrella structure is moribund and ineffectual.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” says no matter how hard opposition leaders try to put a brave face on the de facto separation of the National Unity, Communist and Socialist Armenia parties, their frustration is evident. Hanrapetutyun spokesman Suren Sureniants agrees with those who believe that the move was a “blackmail directed against the HZhK and Hanrapetutyun.” Sureniants says the three parties want the latter to accept Artashes Geghamian’s leadership. “This is not the first time that National Unity tried to create a fait accompli for its partners,” he says, adding that “we can create much more viable alliances.”
Hanrapetutyun leader Albert Bazeyan also hints at such a possibility, in an interview with “Hayots Ashkhar.” He says another opposition alliance might well unite Hanrapetutyun, Stepan Demirchian’s HZhK, Shavarsh Kocharian’s National Democratic Party and other parties. “Besides, we have allies beyond the 16-party framework,” Bazeyan says, pointing to his party’s “close cooperation” with former Foreign Minister Raffi Hovannisian.
“Hayots Ashkhar” comments that “the union of 16” has split into two equal parts, with Geghamian and the Communists “fully counterbalancing” the Hanrapetutyun-HZhK duo. The paper says HZhK leader Stepan Demirchian could have won over the Communists had he been more attentive toward their leaders than former President Levon Ter-Petrosian.
“Aravot” editorializes sarcastically that the 16-party alliance “was created in order to fall apart” afterwards. Exploited by the authorities, the alliance will never manage to gain serious political clout not least because its leaders are “not serious” players. “One of them may not attend a [joint opposition] rally on the grounds that he had guests at home. Another is still unable to digest the Bible so that he can follow its admonitions, and not just cite them,” the paper notes, in an apparent reference to Geghamian. The Armenian authorities are not any better, according to the paper.
“Aravot” claims in this regard that construction contracts funded by the Armenian-American Lincy Foundation are mainly granted to those companies that are either based in Nagorno-Karabakh or linked to the chief of President Kocharian’s staff, Artashes Tumanian. The construction work is being carried out hastily and badly because Lincy will not disburse any funds after December. The paper also decries the poor work organization in Yerevan which has disrupted traffic in the city center since June.