“Aravot” reports that the Armenian police are in talks with the Interior Ministry of Belarus over the purchase of truncheons, rubber bullets, tear gas and razor wire.
Political expert Suren Zolian tells “Hayots Ashkhar” that the Armenian opposition would be wrong to regard the constitutional referendum as its final good opportunity to stage an anti-government “revolution.” “This is a trap, a delusion,” he says. “If they are convinced that they are on the right track, it is by saying yes to this constitution that they can achieve their goal of ridding the people of an unpopular regime and establishing a more democratic government.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” accuses French Ambassador Henry Cuny and other Western diplomats in Yerevan of illegally campaign for the passage of President Robert Kocharian’s constitutional changes. “The thing is that the [Armenian] law on referendums bans foreign citizens from engaging in such propaganda,” writes the paper. It cites in particular Cuny’s interview with Armenian state television.
“Aravot” notes in this regard that U.S. Ambassador to Armenia John Evans has warned the opposition against attempting to block the amendments and topple Kocharian before the next national elections. “They can wait for 15 months, but the citizens of Armenia can’t,” opposition leader Aram Sarkisian tells the paper. “Besides, imagine that the constitutional referendum takes place with the kind of violations which we have seen in the past. I don’t think John Evans will praise these authorities in case of such violations.” Sarkisian also warns that a fresh use of government force against opposition activists and protesters would provoke unspecified “adequate counteraction” from the opposition.
But as “Hayastani Hanrapetutyun” says, the opposition has only weakened itself by failing to participate in the “constitutional process” and formulating a common position on the issue. Opposition parties are as divided as they were a decade ago, says the government-funded newspaper.
“Azg” reports that the speaker of the Karabakh parliament, Ashot Ghulian, on Tuesday welcomed “positive elements” in the latest report on the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict which was released by the International Crisis Group (ICG). Speaking at a news conference in Stepanakert, he also predicted that the upcoming parliamentary elections in Azerbaijan will be far less democratic than the last legislative polls held in Karabakh earlier this year.
“Unlike the previous report, the document is realistic and balanced,” David Shahnazarian, an opposition politician and Armenia’s former top Karabakh negotiator, tells “Aravot” in reference to the ICG report. “This is a document that shows Nagorno-Karabakh’s path to independence.”