“Haykakan Zhamanak” writes that Robert Kocharian’s inauguration on Wednesday had a “strictly team character,” with only presidential loyalists attending it. The paper and other pro-opposition publications pay greater attention to an opposition demonstration marred by violence. They unanimously condemn the use of force against the protesters.
“Orran” comments that the way the authorities dealt with the protesters was symbolic of their illegitimacy. “As a result of these measures, Robert Kocharian added a large number of people to the army of those who don’t accept him,” the paper claims.
Even the pro-Kocharian “Azg” is unhappy. “Nonsense is just like this,” the paper says. “Why did they take such extraordinary and meaningless measures? Let us not forget that Mr. Kocharian was elected president with about 70 percent of the vote. As citizens of the Republic of Armenia, we regret that the president’s inauguration ceremony caused so many negative emotions.”
“Yerkir” is also dissatisfied with the way the ceremony was organized and isolated from the public.
“The presidential inauguration ceremony should have been a holiday, not violence,” human rights activist Avetik Ishkhanian tells “Ayb-Fe.” “Something was therefore wrong with that inauguration. The authorities continue to crudely violate human rights. What we have is some unusual form of dictatorship.”
“Let them not think that they are the masters of this country and that’s it,” opposition activist Anahit Bakhshian tells “Orran.”
“Hayots Ashkhar,” on the other hand, continues to castigate the opposition for viewing Armenia as an undemocratic country and referring to Kocharian as a “dictator.” The paper admits that democracy has long been “raped” in Armenia, but shrugs off opposition attacks on Kocharian.
“I think that things will gradually calm down,” Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian tells “Hayots Ashkhar.” “I think that some degree of calm will be restored after the parliamentary elections.” Sarkisian also says that his inclusion on the electoral slate of the Republican Party of Armenia has removed many unanswered questions from the political arena.
“Aravot” believes that a referendum is not the best way of enacting or amending a constitution as very few people take time and trouble to look into the subject matter. They simply vote for or against constitutional initiatives depending on whether or not they like authorities. Many still doubt that the current basic law was approved by the majority of voters back in 1995. “The same thing will, no doubt, take place this time,” the paper says, forecasting that the authorities will rig the May 26 referendum as well. “In addition to the illegitimate constitution, we will have illegitimate constitutional amendments.”