“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that opposition activists have been conducting house-to-house interviews in several Armenian precincts and ask local voters whether they took part in the November 27 referendum. The idea is to prove that the official referendum turnout was blatantly inflated. Official figures, for example, showed some 1,500 voters in one Yerevan precinct voting for the constitutional amendments. The paper says opposition representatives questioned every local voter and found that less than 400 of them actually went to the polls on November 27. “The picture is the same in all other precincts where opposition representatives have likewise collected signatures.”
“Aravot” says Raffi Hovannisian’s accusatory “questionnaire” addressed to President Robert Kocharian may be “justified from the logical standpoint” but made no sense “in the legal and political senses.” “It is meaningless to ask somebody in a letter, ‘Have you killed anyone? Have you persecuted innocent people? Or do you consider yourself elected?’” The paper says “no sober individual” will give positive answers to such questions.
“Vazgen Manukian is to create a new committee,” reports “Golos Armenii.” “This time it will be called not Karabakh but Armenia. Manukian’s star has faded, but he will never admit that.”
“Perhaps one can anticipate a rather strong revolutionary wave as early as this February,” claims “Iravunk,” predicting a popular outcry against a “defeatist” Karabakh agreement which may be signed by Armenia’s leadership. The paper says even most members of the so-called “Karabakh clan” in Yerevan could revolt against Kocharian and Serzh Sarkisian.
“Neither the opposition, nor the government stands a chance of staying on,” writes “Azg.” “Both are on the brink of big changes. They are already visible. There seems to be a leadership reshuffle underway within the opposition, while the mood in the governing coalition is contradictory.”
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” notes that the Yerkrapah Union of Karabakh war veterans remains strikingly silent on renewed talk of major concessions to Azerbaijan. This is a far cry from their “patriotic” stance of 1997-98 when they accused then President Levon Ter-Petrosian of “selling out Karabakh.” “Kocharian has proved that they are not principled patriots but want businesses, and he gave them businesses.” The paper says the same is true for the nationalist intelligentsia that had lambasted Ter-Petrosian.