In an interview with “Ayb-Fe,” political analyst Aghasi Yenokian terms the May 25 parliamentary elections a “coup d’etat.” “[Defense Minister] Serzh Sarkisian took away all levers from Robert Kocharian,” the paper says. “This was not only a victory for the Republicans, but also Serzh Sarkisian’s subordinate parties: Orinats Yerkir, MAK and National Unity.” “On May 25 the Armenian people were finally stripped of legitimate power,” Yenokian continues. “There is no longer any legitimate [government] body.”
“Hayots Ashkhar” writes that the electoral success of businessman Gurgen Arsenian’s MAK party demonstrates that the allegations of vote rigging are “exaggerated.” If the elections were really rigged, the paper argues, how could the hitherto unknown party get into the parliament? Other pro-presidential parties like Ramkavar Azatakan had more powerful patrons and closer government connections, but were nonetheless unable to clear the 5 percent hurdle.
Interviewed by “Hayots Ashkhar,” Arsenian makes the same point. “Many political forces are now trying to attribute their failure to the success of other political structures. But if they are to remain political forces and act in Armenia’s political field, I would advise them to analyze their shortcomings,” he says. Arsenian says the MAK made it to the parliament because it raised issues relevant to most Armenians.
Meanwhile, Yerevan Mayor Robert Nazarian puts a brave face on the defeat of his Hzor Hayrenik (Powerful Fatherland) party. Nazarian tells “Hayots Ashkhar” that the 3 percent of votes which Hzor Hayrenik got was “not a bad result.” “It’s not the number of votes that matters,” he says. “There are more important values.”
But according to “Orran,” Nazarian’s failure to enter the National Assembly means that he is a “bad mayor.” “The elementary logic demands that they be dismissed,” the paper says. Nazarian, it says, was not even smart enough to hide his and his party’s “zero rating.” By the same token, another Hzor Hayrenik leader, Culture Minister Roland Sharoyan, must also resign.
The Ramkavar daily “Azg” believes that a strong showing in these elections depended not so much on the backing of President Kocharian as that of the Republican Party (HHK). The latter proved “intolerant” of other pro-Kocharian parties. Some of them, if elected to the parliament, could end the HHK’s grip on power. As for Arsenian’s MAK, “it was allowed into the parliament as the least of evils.” The MAK lacks the clout and strength to compete with the Republicans, the paper says.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” urges the opposition Artarutyun alliance to boycott the new parliament, arguing that its participation would only legitimize what the paper believes is an illegitimate legislature. Besides, an opposition boycott could “create serious problems for the authorities.” “It would immediately draw the international community’s attention to Armenia,” the paper says, adding ruefully that the opposition led by Stepan Demirchian is not united and determined enough to take such a drastic step.