“Aravot” reports on the brief detention on Wednesday of opposition leader Raffi Hovannisian at Yerevan’s Zvartnots airport. A senior member of Hovannisian’s Zharangutyun party, Vartan Khachatrian, is quoted as condemning the incident as an act of renewed government “repression” against the opposition.
But “Hayots Ashkhar” plays down the “insignificant incident.” Security officers, it says, simply “thoroughly checked” Hovannisian’s belongings and he was then allowed to board the plane.
“It’s hard to find anyone in our country who believes that 1.5 people took part in our constitutional referendum and 93 percent of them said ‘yes’ [to the constitutional amendments],” constitutional lawyer Vartan Poghosian tells “Aravot.” Poghosian advises those who believe the official vote results to “go to a psychiatrist.”
“It is obvious that there was ballot stuffing and I agree that it does not add to our honor,” parliament speaker Artur Baghdasarian tells “Aravot.” “And all those who have paid us lip service have acted against our progress.” “You know, politicians or political forces have no influence on certain individuals with a criminal mentality who are prepared for everything to please their bosses.” Baghdasarian says “serious political and legal conclusions must be drawn from all of this.”
The paper wonders why Baghdasarian, who delivered last week an emotional speech at the scene of Ukraine’s Orange Revolution, has refused to attend and speak at similar rallies held in Yerevan. “My current podium for making speeches is the National Assembly,” says Baghdasarian.
“What happened was due to happen,” “Hayots Ashkhar” says of the constitutional reform. “The promised culmination [of opposition protests] did not take place on November 27 … And now the leaders of the Armenian revolutionary opposition are trying to rationalize how the liberal movement has been aborted once again.” The paper believes that the opposition will fail to pull a larger crowd on Friday. It says opposition leaders will have no option but an “inglorious departure from the political arena.”
According to “Golos Armenii,” even the most disaffected Armenians have realized that “this opposition is only a redundant burden for the taxpayers.” “That is why the radicals can not wait until 2007. For time works against them.”
“With this referendum Kocharian once again showed that the people’s opinion is worth nothing for him,” political analyst Aghasi Yenokian tells “168 Zham.” “In this state, no step, no appointment, no official, no paid tax is legal anymore because the country’s basic law, the constitution, is not legal either.”