“Aravot” carries excerpts from an interview given by Robert Kocharian to a Russian newspaper in 1998 shortly after he became president. Kocharian complained in it that the Armenian opposition was unable to achieve any changes in Armenia under his predecessor Levon Ter-Petrosian. “I think this is a more than dangerous situation,” he said at the time. “The entire opposition must be in the parliament not in jail or underground.” The opposition should also be able to control newspapers and television stations, he added. “If the head of state does not give the opposition such an opportunity, a social explosion is inevitable.”
According to “Aravot,” Kocharian has done precisely what he complained about in the past five years. The paper says Kocharian closed down the A1+ television exactly one year ago in order to get reelected “without a headache.”
“Orran,” also commenting on the anniversary of the shutdown, describes the move as a “calculated conspiracy against democracy.” The paper says the reopening of A1+ is “not realistic” because the authorities are scared of any criticism.
In an interview with “Ayb-Fe,” a newspaper published by the A1+ staff, the deputy speaker of the parliament, Tigran Torosian, admits that the channel’s closure was a “loss” for the Armenian media. But he says that would not have happened if “all parties” involved in the controversy had not politicized the issue.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that many opposition politicians in Armenia are “in despair” these days because they feel that they can not find solutions to their grievances by legal means. “Robert Kocharian is creating a political system in Armenia where there is no room for the opposition,” the paper says in a commentary titled “The opposition feels disdained.”
“Azg” comments that as next month’s parliamentary elections approach Kocharian will be faced with a daunting task of satisfying conflicting ambitions of the two pro-presidential parties: Dashnaktsutyun and the HHK. “He will have to reckon with them and distribute cabinet seats in a way that will not leave anyone unhappy,” the paper says. “Otherwise, inner-government differences will become inevitable, which could lead to a serious government crisis or even regime change under strong opposition pressure.”
“Yerkir” calls for the abolition of a legal provision guaranteeing parliament deputies immunity from prosecution. “For many people the parliament has become a shelter for avoiding responsibility for past and future acts incompatible with the law,” the paper argues.