Opposition leader Stepan Demirchian tells “Haykakan Zhamanak” that a “no” vote in the November 27 referendum would mean a vote of no confidence in Armenia’s leadership “no matter how much they try to claim the opposite.” “True, the world will not collapse if voters say ‘no’,” he says, borrowing a phrase from President Robert Kocharian. “Nor will the world collapse if these authorities quit.”
“This is a neither presidential, nor parliamentary election campaign,” Transport and Communications Minister Andranik Manukian objects in an interview with “Aravot.” Manukian says he gets the impression that one of the opposition leaders intends to become president on November 27.
“If we manage to hold a free, fair and transparent referendum without major shortcomings and get a ‘yes’ vote with a high turnout, Armenia will find itself in a beneficial position vis-à-vis not only Azerbaijan but Georgia,” Samvel Nikoyan of the Republican Party tells “Hayots Ashkhar.” Nikoyan claims that unlike Armenia, Georgia has yet to fulfill many of its Council of Europe commitments.
“168 Zham” writes that the Armenian authorities are now busy campaigning for their constitutional changes and “gloating” about international reaction to the weekend parliamentary election in Azerbaijan. “On the one hand, the authorities state that as a consequence of its disgraceful parliamentary elections, Azerbaijan has been pushed four five years back from the path of European integration. On the other, they are conducting the pre-referendum campaign with equally blatant violations.”
“Hayastani Hanrapetutyun” quotes a senior member of Prosecutor-General Aghvan Hovsepian’s Nig-Aparan organization as saying that even if the proposed amendments are not perfect they can always be rectified in the future. “It is not the Bible that we are putting to the referendum,” says Andranik Arshakian.
“Hayots Ashkhar” notes in this regard that Andranik Arshakian’s brother Aghasi is a parliament deputy from the opposition National Unity Party which is against the constitutional reform.
“168 Zham” reports that several leaders of the Armenian opposition mocked the Russian head of the OSCE office in Yerevan, Vladimir Pryakhin, during their meeting with Alcee Hastings, a visiting U.S. congressman who is also the president of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly. The paper says the oppositionists pretended not knowing that Pryakhin runs the OSCE office in Yerevan. Hastings, it says, was left bewildered. “The OSCE has no such representative in Armenia,” they are said to have told the congressman. “Vladimir Pryakhin may only be the Russian Federation’s ambassador to Armenia or an adviser to Robert Kocharian.”