“Aravot” offers a highly pessimistic scenario for the Armenian opposition. The paper predicts that the Constitutional Court will turn down Stepan Demirchian’s election appeal, the authorities will rig the constitutional referendum and the parliamentary elections and then enact a law allowing Robert Kocharian to seek a third term in office in 2008.
Demirchian, meanwhile, tells “Haykakan Zhamanak” that Kocharian’s legitimacy must primarily lie in “the people’s consciousness,” something which he says is not the case. “I don’t think that even the rejection of our application by the Constitutional Court will change that perception,” he says. “My assessment hasn’t changed. These elections were even more disgraceful than those held in 1998.” Demirchian also says that another fraudulent vote would have “disastrous consequences” for Armenia.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” claims that the authorities are now looking for credible ways of arresting opposition leader Aram Sarkisian. In particular, they are searching for a “criminal link” between a 1998 deal made by a cement factory managed by Sarkisian and a house built by his late brother Vazgen about that time.
Aram Sarkisian does not comment on this in an interview with “Orran,” focusing instead on the Constitutional Court proceedings. He also says the opposition still does not rule out the possibility of boycotting the parliamentary elections.
“If we had no expectations we would not appeal [to the court],” another opposition leader, Albert Bazeyan, tells “Ayb-Fe.” “We must exhaust all legal ways of struggle. After that the society will see no other way than settling the matter in an extra-political way. At one point things could go beyond our control.”
According to the leader of the pro-Kocharian Orinats Yerkir party, there were irregularities during the parliamentary elections. Interviewed by “Iravunk,” Artur Baghdasarian says his party could not have prevented them because it holds only one seat in electoral commissions. “As long as election fraudsters in Armenia are not punished with imprisonment we will not have free and fair elections,” he says. “A government formed with money, violence and administrative coercion can not play a positive role.” Baghdasarian names no names, however.
“Yerkir” bemoans Armenian politicians’ “indifference” to major international developments that will eventually affect Armenia. The paper says occasional comments made by them are of little value to the nation. This, it says, reflects widespread incompetence among various-level government officials.