“168 Zham” reports that the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (HHD, Dashnaktsutyun) intends to contest the 2008 presidential elections with its own candidate. The paper quotes a top leader of the nationalist party, Hrant Markarian, as saying that Dashnaktsutyun has to come to power to be able to “eliminate subjective phenomena existing in the republic.” “He did not name the possible Dashnaktsutyun candidate, saying only that unlike other political forces, the HHD has many candidates worthy of the post of head of state,” it writes.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” comments on a conference which Dashnaktsutyun held in Yerevan on Wednesday with the aim of working out political consensus on the constitutional reform. The conference took place just days before the start of Sunday’s voting. “Dashnaktsutyun has decided to accomplish something within the next 72 hours which the Armenian people have failed to accomplish for the past few centuries,” says the paper.
Interviewed by “Hayots Ashkhar,” the chairman of Armenia’s Central Election Commission, Garegin Azarian, dismisses argument that the opposition pullout from the CEC and its territorial divisions makes their work and the referendum as a whole illegitimate. Azarian also questions the legality of the recall of opposition members sitting on the election commissions. “Those decisions are impossible to implement within the framework of the electoral code,” he says. “The electoral code defines no mechanisms for the recall of commission members.”
A senior member of Raffi Hovannisian’s Zharangutyun party tells “Aravot” that the authorities “continue to interfere with the party’s activities.” Hovsep Khurshudian says government officials have warned some Zharangutyun activists not to participate in a rally which Hovannisian plans to hold at Yerevan’s Freedom Square on Friday.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that the authorities have decided to disrupt the rally by holding a concert in support of a “Yes” vote in the same place and at the same time. The paper says the Yerevan municipality plans to hold there similar concerts on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. But it says “Raffi Hovannisian’s office doesn’t care much about this fact” and will press on with a campaign of sustained street protests.
“I believe not so much in the victory of those who propagate a ‘yes’ vote as in the instinct of our people,” Dashnaktsutyun lawmaker Alvard Petrosian tells “Hayots Ashkhar.” She accuses the opposition of trying to “constantly keep the people in a state of panic.”
“With its decision to boycott the referendum, the opposition stripped itself of a chance to make a choice,” says “Golos Armenii.”