“Aravot” reports that the People’s Deputy group of parliamentarians and the United Labor Party have assured President Robert Kocharian that they will vote for his choice of Armenia’s next human rights ombudsman. “The votes of these forces are extremely important because the coalition forces together have only 72 votes,” explains the paper.
“Robert Kocharian does not trust the coalition anymore,” declares “168 Zham.” “He personally receives representatives of political forces represented in the National Assembly and issues appropriate instructions, demanding relevant guarantees.”
As one of the opposition deputies, Arshak Sadoyan, tells “Hayots Ashkhar,” presidential adviser Armen Harutiunian will again fail to get elected if his colleagues representing the coalition “do not bow to pressure from the executive branch.” The paper, meanwhile, likens the ombudsman’s election to a Brazilian soap opera.
“Golos Armenii” notes that by actively participating in the process the opposition is benefiting from one of the constitutional amendments which it had rejected out of hand. “They interrupted their boycott [of parliament sessions] because the pre-election year obliges them to appear before the public and because they have finally given up hopes for an orange revolution in Armenia.”
“The coalition parties are busy these days not only undercutting each other but also making overtures to the opposition,” writes “168 Zham.”
Kocharian’s national security adviser, Garnik Isagulian, tells “Hayots Ashkhar” that the Karabakh peace process will continue despite the failure of the Rambouillet talks between the Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents. “But it will always be impossible to foist anything upon Armenia that contradicts our national interests and security. The conflict can be resolved only on the basis of existing realities. There is just no other way,” says Isagulian.
“Men of war can not be peacemakers,” writes “168 Zham.” “Men of war are inhibited by the logic of a conflict … For them, the people and the homeland are nothing more than [army] rear which is supposed to provide everything needed for moving forward and only forward.”
Opposition leader Aram Sarkisian discusses in an “Aravot” interview the so-called territories-for-referendum formula discussed by the conflicting parties. “The referendum thing raises many questions,” he says. “For example, how many Azerbaijanis are to return to Karabakh? In that case, we have think about how many Armenians need to go back there so that we can prevail in that referendum. If the problem is resolved within this framework, then natives of Karabakh should return to Karabakh. Robert Kocharian should set one example of that so that people go there and we win the referendum.”