(Saturday, August 20)
“Haykakan Zhamanak” is encouraged by what it sees as signs of opposition behavior that “may make a democratic revolution possible in Armenia.” The paper says the Armenian opposition should also make a “correct geopolitical calculation” in this situation. “[Opposition leaders’] differences with European structures or, more precisely, their officials are again creating fertile ground for relevant Russian structures to offer sponsorship to the opposition. The opposition leaders must bear in mind that in the global sense we are dealing with a fading factor in Russia. And after all, the ultimate goal is to carry out a democratic revolution in Armenia -- something which Russia always opposes out of principle.” The paper says the opposition must have felt this in 2003 and 2004 “when the known Russian circles stood by Kocharian at the most decisive moment.”
In an interview with “Aravot,” a prominent Armenian Communist, Khoren Sargsian, predicts the failure of the November constitutional referendum in the country. Sargsian says Armenians will reject Kocharian’s constitutional amendments simply because they fear that they would leave a legal loophole for him to seek a third presidential term. He claims that the referendum fiasco will force the Armenian leader to fire his coalition cabinet.
Citing “well-informed sources,” “Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that the People’s Party (HZhK) of opposition leader Stepan Demirchian has decided to contest the upcoming election in Yerevan’s central Kentron administrative district. The paper also says neither the HZhK nor any other opposition party will run any of Armenia’s 41 district election commissions. The composition of those commissions was endorsed and publicized by Kocharian last week. The paper says the president and his allies retained their overwhelming control of those bodies.
“Azg” reports that Miss Armenia 2004 Anush Grigorian has been barred from participation in an upcoming international beauty contest in Panama after allegations that her Armenian sponsors paid 10,000 euros in bribes to judges at a similar contest held in China last month. Grigorian finished fourth in that pageant. The paper claims that the head of the European branch of the World Beauty Organization has resigned over the allegations.