“Haykakan Zhamanak” says opposition leaders that organized yet another anti-government rally in Yerevan on Wednesday view it as a “popular movement” for democracy. The paper says that movement requires “correct political guidance.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” also attacks the deputy speaker of the parliament, Tigran Torosian, for suggesting last week that membership of the Council of Europe is not Armenia’s “only path of development” and that there exist “numerous other alternatives.” Torosian was commenting on the organization’s strong criticism of the Armenian elections. “The Council of Europe will get really scared by our vice-speakers threats,” the paper comments sarcastically. “It appears that the best of the alternatives is to join the Russia-Belarus union.”
Newspapers supporting the authorities, meanwhile, continue to attack the West for its position on the Armenian election. “Azg” draws readers’ attention to Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian’s remark that Westerners are not quire familiar with Armenians’ “mentality.” “The mentality of the West, and the United States in particular, is double standards,” the paper writes.
But as the chairman of the Armenian parliament’s foreign relations committee, Hovannes Hovannisian, tells “Ayb-Fe,” democracy “either exists or does not exist.” “Democracy can not be divided into countries and mentalities,” he says. “We already joined CIS countries at the beginning of last century. We lived with them for 70 years and saw results of that. Our and our children’s future is Europe.”
“Hayots Ashkhar” comments that Armenian parties preparing for the parliamentary elections are concentrating on 75 parliament seats that will be distributed under the system of proportional representation. They will find it extremely difficult to compete with wealthy, apolitical individuals who have set their sights on the remaining 56 seats. The paper predicts that parties supporting President Robert Kocharian may well win between 55 and 60 percent of the proportional vote. With the help of many deputies elected in single-mandate constituencies they will earn Kocharian a “solid majority” in the next National Assembly. The opposition will get only up to 35 seats, the pro-Kocharian paper predicts.
“Hayots Ashkhar” also implicates former Prime Minister Aram Sarkisian in the murder of state television chief Tigran Naghdalian, arguing that some of individuals arrested or sought in connection with the killing are his distant relatives.
Sarkisian’s mother Greta rebuts the charges in an interview with “Haykakan Zhamanak.” “Instead of admitting that he was not election and resigning as a real man, Kocharian is resorting to such a disgusting blackmail,” she says. “All this is being done to force to retreat and stop demanding that the October 27 case be solved and stop fighting against the person who has usurped power. That will not happen, and I personally will do everything to make sure that the names of the October 27 organizers are publicized on a state level.”