“If Robert Kocharian indeed does not intend to stay on as president after 2008, that means the question of his successor is becoming more and more acute day by day,” writes “Haykakan Zhamanak.” But the paper is not 100 percent certain that the Armenian president will step down after completing his second term, saying that an amended constitution would be the only legal loophole which he can cite for clinging to power. Also, one of the constitutional amendments put to the referendum declares that the Armenian president is “untouchable” both during and after his tenure. That is a crucial guarantee of security for Kocharian, according to “Haykakan Zhamanak.”
“Aravot” sees no prerequisites for external pressure for regime change in Armenia. “The political regime in Armenia, though not democratic in any way, is more liberal than that in Uzbekistan or Belarus,” editorializes the paper. “But the key thing is that present Armenia does not interfere with the West. Armenian supporters of a colored revolution have not yet come up with substantiated arguments as to why Robert Kocharian or his possible successors are not beneficial for the West.” The ruling regime in Yerevan is “absolutely controllable and predictable” for Western powers. “As for the sublime concepts such as democracy, human rights or fair elections, the West cares little about them,” the paper concludes grimly.
“Hayots Ashkhar” claims that by attempting to thwart Kocharian’s constitutional reform the Armenian opposition is losing its “last chances to come to power.” The paper says the opposition fails to see that constitutional amendments are good for its leaders and the country as a whole. “The opposition tactic therefore boils down to the following logic: the worse for the country, the better for the opposition,” it concludes.
A correspondent for “168 Zham” who has just returned from Nagorno-Karabakh finds an important difference between the opinions of ordinary people and government officials. “Ordinary people want to become part of Armenia, whereas for various-level officials Karabakh’s independence is a matter of honor or egotism. This is understandable. There is a huge difference between the positions of a department head of a Nagorno-Karabakh Republic ministry and an Armenian provincial administration.” The paper says this might be the reason why the Karabakh authorities are now building a new parliament building in Stepanakert, instead of investing in “human development programs.”