“We don’t need a rigged referendum and we will do our best to ensure an open and transparent process,” parliament speaker Artur Baghdasarian assures “Iravunk.” Baghdasarian says the referendum can not be used by the Armenian opposition for regime change “for the simple reason that it is not about forming government.”
But as a representative of the main opposition coalition campaigning for a “no” vote, Garnik Markarian, tells “Iravunk,” the ruling regime “will not have a right to stay in power” if it loses the referendum. “At issue is not the constitution,” he says. “At issue is a civilized removal of the current regime.”
“Iravunk” forecasts that opposition forces in Azerbaijan will fail to replicate ex-Soviet revolutions. For all their strong criticism of the Azerbaijani election, says the paper, the United States and Europe “did not rush to assist in opposition actions” in Baku. It claims that the Americans simply want to dent Ilham Aliev’s legitimacy in order to facilitate a resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. “It is not hard to predict that in Armenia’s case the Americans will not rush to use the November 27 referendum as an occasion for revolutionary change.”
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” is scathing about the former Karabakh army chief Samvel Babayan’s remark that a solution to the Karabakh conflict is “possible only in case of a democratization of the conflicting parties.” “We all remember how democratic Karabakh was under Samvel Babayan,” says the paper. “Samvel Babayan has long been an ordinary war veteran who, like other war veterans, is trying to create his party and somehow meddle in big politics,” it concludes.
But according to “Iravunk,” Babayan’s Dashink party and a new opposition party formed by Albert Bazeyan could bring about “quite interesting movements” on the Armenian political stage.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” says opposition leaders would be wrong to think that their brief campaign trips to Armenian provinces are having a strong impact on the outcome of the November 27 referendum. “Opposition leaders go to the regions, hold one- or two-hour meetings, blast the authorities, raise the people’s militant spirits. But the people are then again left alone against not only their troubles but the local intelligentsia, law-enforcement bodies, representatives of pro-government parties and town and village mayors who are working hard on a daily basis to get every citizen’s ‘yes’ [vote]. The fact is that the opposition is unable to propagate a ‘no’ vote in a similarly consistent fashion.”
“Aravot” reports that the chief of Armenia’s Police Service, Hayk Harutiunian, has sent dozens of copies of the proposed constitutional changes to every police station in Yerevan. The paper says police officers were thus instructed to familiarize themselves with the amendments and campaign for their passage.