“Haykakan Zhamanak” quotes opposition leader Smbat Ayvazian as accusing the Armenian authorities of engineering the continuing appreciation of the Armenian dram against the U.S. dollar which has rallied in the international markets in recent weeks. “Last year, between $1 billion and $1.5 billion in remittances entered Armenia,” says Ayvazian. “This year’s projections are within the same range. They immediately collect 20-30 percent of that sum from the people.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” says recent amendments to Armenia’s electoral code have created a “fairly delicate situation” for the opposition. Under that code, the parties and blocs represented in parliament have to submit the names of their nominees for the new Central Election Commission to the presidential administration. Robert Kocharian will then sign a decree forming the CEC. “It won’t look good if the opposition, which does not recognize Kocharian’s legitimacy, asks him to certify its decisions,” explains the paper.
“Iravunk” expects that most opposition parties will urge their supporters to vote against Kocharian’s constitutional amendments at the November referendum. The paper says the move will be based on “the notion that the vote has a political, rather than legal nature.” “Saying ‘yes’ to the constitution would automatically mean giving Robert Kocharian the right to carry out reforms and thereby legitimizing him,” it says.
But as “Haykakan Zhamanak” notes, only one opposition party, Aram Sarkisian’s Hanrapetutyun, views the constitutional reform as a purely “political issue” and will not cut any compromise deals with the ruling regime. “Even if the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe adopts a negative stance on the Armenian opposition which is refusing to fulfill the demands of the latest [PACE] resolution and to take part in the process of constitutional reforms,” adds the paper.
“Hayots Ashkhar” attacks Hanrapetutyun and other members of the Artarutyun alliance for rejecting Kocharian’s revised constitutional amendments on Monday. The paper says the opposition has no legitimate reason to scuttle the reform endorsed by the Council of Europe. It complains that opposition leaders continue to be guided by “the death or revolution” slogan.
“In terms of the number of anti-corruption seminars and activities, Armenia is the first in the world, but that the scale of corruption here doesn’t decrease as a result,” laments “Haykakan Zhamanak.”