In an interview with “Aravot,” a member of the Armenian Intellectual Forum, Eduard Simoniants, blames President Robert Kocharian for the failure of his organization’s efforts to initiate a dialogue between the government and the opposition. Simoniants says a second meeting of representatives of the opposition and the three governing parties did not take place on Tuesday because “the president tried to show that whatever agreements are reached in the political field he will feel free to do what he wants rather than what is needed.”
“Aravot” adds to this that the coalition parties feel offended by opposition claims that they have little say in government affairs. The paper says they also did not like the opposition demands for the punishment of those officials who were behind last year’s vote irregularities and who now “fabricate” criminal cases against Kocharian’s critics.
“The president repeatedly stated that he finds important a dialogue between the coalition and the opposition,” deputy parliament speaker Tigran Torosian tells “Hayots Ashkhar.” “But unfortunately our opposition partners seem to think that if the political forces that formed the coalition government call for a dialogue that is a sign of weakness. If they think that the authorities are scared, then they are badly mistaken.”
“Dialogue is over,” declares “Hayots Ashkhar.” “One engages in a dialogue with their opponents before embarking on hostilities. Those who suffer a crushing defeat are dealt with in a totally different way.” The Armenian authorities should therefore talk with the opposition only about the terms of its “capitulation.”
In an interview with “Haykakan Zhamanak,” former Foreign Minister Raffi Hovannisian calls on Kocharian to step down “for the sake of the state’s future.” “Otherwise, nothing good will await Armenia,” Hovannisian warns. “Not only do I think that actions worse than the ones taken on April 13 are possible, but already see their signs.” Kocharian’s days in power only postpone “the fateful clash,” the U.S.-born politician adds. “If we don’t correct the big mistake which occurred during the 2003 presidential elections we will face new challenges on both the domestic and external fronts.”
“Azg” says the authorities will continue to take tough action against the opposition. But, it says, the latter sees no other way of effecting regime change and will try to convince the Europeans that Armenia is a “dictatorship ruled by the Karabakh clan.” “[Foreign Minister] Vartan Oskanian will have to respond to all of this. It will be more than difficult to provide explanations for the events of April 13.”