Garnik Isagulian, President Robert Kocharian’s national security adviser, tells “Hayots Ashkhar” that the Armenian opposition leaders are trying to disrupt the upcoming constitutional referendum as they are “sensing their defeat and seeing that there will be more ‘yes’ votes than expected.” They are even ready to “shed blood,” he claims. “We advise them to give up the idea of triggering provocations,” adds Isagulian. “But if they resort to provocations, they will bear full responsibility [for what happens].”
“168 Zham” says the orange tie which opposition leader Aram Sarkisian wears at campaign gatherings was passed on to him by Ukraine’s ambassador to Armenia, Aleksandr Bozhko. Sarkisian says only that the tie symbolizing last year’s “orange revolution” in Kiev “was sent from Ukraine.” The paper says in this regard that the Armenian customs has banned imports of orange fabric to Armenia.
“Azg” says the opposition has stockpiled orange tents, banners, jackets and other clothing items and will distribute them to supporters on November 27.
“There are no grounds for a foreign-backed revolution in Armenia,” “Hayots Ashkhar” quotes a leader of the Dashnaktsutyun party, Levon Mkrtchian, as telling university students in Yerevan on Wednesday.
“Those who propagated a ‘no’ vote realized that they lack the clout to ensure a desired result,” writes “Hayastani Hanrapetutyun.” Hence, their decision to call for a popular boycott of the referendum, says the government-controlled paper. Opposition supporters, it says, will become more “passive” as a result.
“Hayots Ashkhar” also denounces the boycott calls, describing them as an attempt to “dodge responsibility, cover up the [opposition’s] defeat and, if possible, to smear political opponents.” “Political motives for the opposition move are clear,” Dashnaktsutyun’s Mkrtchian is quoted as saying. He says the opposition failed to substantiate its rejection of the constitutional amendments.
“Preparations for the referendum are in full swing,” a senior member of the governing Republican Party, Gagik Minasian, tells “Golos Armenii.” “Those who had no position on the issue as recently as 15 days ago, are today better informed and are leaning towards a ‘yes’ vote. Those surveys gives us reason to hope that on referendum day the overwhelming majority of the population will be prepared to make a conscious choice and defend the constitutional draft.”
Citing unspecified sources close to the former ruling Armenian Pan-National Movement (HHSh), “168 Zham” reports that Prime Minister Andranik Markarian and former President Levon Ter-Petrosian held a confidential meeting “several days ago.”
The same paper claims that Karabakh’s former army chief Samvel Babayan has met with tobacco tycoon Hrant Vartanian and demanded his share of profits made by Vartanian’s Grand Tobacco firm since 1998. The paper says Babayan was forced to give up his Grand Tobacco shares worth $100,000 at the time. The former Karabakh strongman is said to think that they are now worth “several million dollars.”