“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that opposition leaders Stepan Demirchian and Artashes Geghamian signed late Wednesday a “sensational agreement,” pledging to join forces in their struggle against President Robert Kocharian. As recently as a few hours before that Geghamian aides were saying that they will not participate the rallies to be held by Demirchian’s Artarutyun bloc. Geghamian says those statements were aimed at misleading and wrong-footing the authorities.
“Azg” says “the Ararat wing of the opposition” (presumably Aram Sarkisian and his allies) regards regime change as personal revenge for the 1999 parliament killings. The paper says Sarkisian enjoys the strong backing of former President Levon Ter-Petrosian and his entourage. “The authorities are resolute and ready to strangle the opposition by force,” it adds. But they are at the same time “clearly nervous.”
“Aravot” believes that the opposition goals are “not feasible” at present not least because Kocharian “will never resign.” “He is not Levon Ter-Petrosian. He has neither a possibility nor a desire to live in Armenia and read books at home after losing power.” More importantly, the paper says, there is “no public demand for a legitimate government in Armenia.” “There is public demand for better life, for the sake of which 90 percent of Armenia’s population is ready to give and take bribes, to beat and get beaten during elections.”
“The opposition is trying to cobble together a kind of militia,” writes “Hayastani Hanrapetutyun.” The opposition hopes that its big doses of government hatred injected into public minds will translate into huge crowds demanding Kocharian’s ouster. The government-funded paper admits that “a certain part of the public” buys the opposition propaganda and is extremely hostile to the ruling regime.
“Hayots Ashkhar” says while the oppositionists are busy preparing for their offensive, the three coalition parties barely talk to each other. The last meeting of the coalition board took place two weeks ago and lasted for just over an hour. Its main focus was on government programs concerning Armenian agriculture. The paper says this “passive” stance is not adequate given the increasingly tense political situation in the country. It repeats its belief that the coalition has failed to transform into a “political team.” “The gauntlet thrown at the authorities by the opposition can only be picked up by a united political team. Whether or not it exists will become clear in the near future.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” predicts the sacking of Urban Development Minister Ara Aramian. “With Aramian’s sacking the president will try to restore his public image of a just king who can not tolerate an official bringing up an cheeky generation.”