“Haykakan Zhamanak” says that leader of the Artarutyun bloc who held a rally in the Garni village near Yerevan on Thursday found “fierce hatred” of the authorities among local residents. “Nevertheless, although the people were applauding the opposition representatives, they did not accept [the oppositionists] as saviors,” the paper says. “It can be concluded that the people pin their hopes only on the themselves.”
“Ayb-Fe” says any criticism directed at the opposition is justified. “The Armenian opposition does not have a determined ideological leader who would not cut deals [with the government].” As for the authorities, the paper says their latest actions only reinforce public antipathy toward Robert Kocharian. Those actions include teacher lay-offs, plans to conscript graduate students and controversial commercial construction in the city center.
“Iravunk” says the government’s controversial bill on military service has spawned a powerful student movements and Prime Minister Andranik Markarian’s call for the students not to politicize the issue are “overdue.” The government has already set the sage for a “tense spring.” “The situation increasingly resembles the beginning of 1998 when a dramatic turn of events led to a change of president.”
“Hayots Ashkhar” says the opposition leaders hope that an escalation of tensions, even if it results in their defeat, will plunge the country into a political crisis. The opposition tactics “can really create certain problems in the domestic political life” unless the main pro-government parties come out in support of President Robert Kocharian.
“In reality, the opposition is losing ground in the political field,” Republican Party leader Galust Sahakian tells “Hayots Ashkhar.” “The more extreme their agenda becomes, the greater the need for a constructive opposition. I think we could find political forces that will gradually occupy that niche.”
“Yerkir” is bewildered by the lack of government advocacy of the draft law on military service. The paper says that even some members of the ruling coalition have spoken out against it.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that Education Minister Sergo Yeritsian did not utter a single word at the cabinet meeting on Thursday while he was castigated by Prime Minister Andranik Markarian for half an hour. Nonetheless, Yeritsian’s Orinats Yerkir Party considers the minister’s behavior in the military service row “extremely positive.”
“Ayb-Fe” recalls that Yeritsian and Orinats Yerkir were against the mass lay-offs of school teachers before coming to power but changed course once they took over the Education Ministry and two other ministries. “Armenian politicians easily abandon their pre-election promises, as a result of which the people suffer while the likes of Sergo gain,” the weekly paper says.