(Saturday, June 16)
“Zhamanak Yerevan” reports that Nikol Pashinian and other leaders of the opposition Aylentrank (Alternative) movement will use a legal loophole to defy government bans on holding rallies in Yerevan’s Liberty Square. They will invoke a legal provision stipulating that street gatherings attended by up to 100 people do not have to be permitted by the municipality. The paper also notes that during the last Aylentrank rally held in another square in central Yerevan on Friday Pashinian urged the Armenian opposition to field a single candidate for next year’s presidential election.
“Thus, Nikol Pashinian occupies Liberty Square and demands that the opposition nominate a single candidate. All those oppositionists who will not accept that condition will have no place in Liberty Square, while those who will wish to step on the square podium will have to support the candidate determined by Nikol Pashinian,” “Zhamanak Yerevan” comments bitingly.
“Hayk” carries a scathing commentary about another prominent oppositionist, Orinats Yerkir leader Artur Baghdasarian, accusing him of continuing to levy unofficial “taxes” from senior members of his opposition party. The paper, which itself is controlled by another opposition party, goes on to dismiss the Orinats Yerkir leadership as a “bunch of opportunists” driven by a lust for power and money. “Despite claims by Orinats Yerkir leaders that they have tens of thousands of members, it is evident that Orinats Yerkir can not last long in this way,” it claims, adding that the party’s parliamentary faction may soon be hit by another defection.
“Aravot” quotes an opposition member of Nagorno-Karabakh’s parliament, Gegham Baghdasarian, as confirming reports that the unrecognized republic’s president, Arkady Ghukasian, will enjoy lifetime privileges after completing his final term in office next month. The Karabakh government will provide him with an apartment in Stepanakert and a car and pay for his private trips abroad.
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” launches another blistering attack on Yerevan’s government-appointed Mayor Yervand Zakharian, saying that he has not only abused power to enrich himself and his family but is also incompetent. The paper reveals that visiting Yerevan’s under-construction Northern Avenue earlier this month, Zakharian discovered that it has no sidewalks and demanded an explanation from his aides. It says the latter barely contained themselves from bursting into laughter, amused by the mayor’s ignorance of the fact that the whole street was designed to be pedestrianized.