(August 11, Saturday )
“Aravot” discards as impracticable and unnecessary veteran oppositionist Artashes Geghamian’s proposal that the government and the opposition should have a common candidate in the upcoming presidential election ‘in the name of national unity’.
“The authorities let the opposition have only 13 of the 131 parliamentary mandates. It is difficult to expect them to gift a whole presidential post to the opposition. But even if it becomes possible by some miracle, there is no need for that,” “Aravot” comments.
“Otherwise, we would have to suppose that there is no national unity in France, as the most recent presidential race there split the nation into conservative Nicolas Sarkozy’s and socialist Segolene Royal’s supporters… Only though a competition of ideas and political platforms is it possible to have a president elected in a fair election, a president who would enjoy his fellow citizens’ vote of confidence to lead the country out of today’s stagnation.”
“Hayk” predicts that if constructed and operated the Baku-Tbilisi-Akhalkalaki-Kars railroad will immediately diminish Armenia’s economic and geopolitical role in the region, as Azerbaijan, Georgia and Russia that theoretically can have a railroad link with Turkey only via Armenia today, will no longer need Armenia’s territory and won’t be interested in the re-operation of the alternative Kars-Gyumri railroad.
“Armenia’s authorities have been trying for a long time to convince the people that this project won’t become a reality, just like in the late 1990s they’d tried to convince the people that the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline would never be realized. Today’s administration pins their hopes on the United States that refused to fund the Baku-Tbilisi-Akhalkalaki-Kars railroad. But it still doesn’t mean the Americans will put pressure on the countries that decide to participate in the project,” “Hayk” writes.
In an interview with “Aravot”, prominent Soviet-era dissident Paruyr Hayrikian, who volunteered to moderate the informal talks of the opposition around a single candidate for next year’s presidential election, says their meetings will focus on more specific discussions after August 20. He predicts that the meetings will separate a group of five or seven from others who would be able to form a multi-polar team comprising different political views.
“I do not invite Vazgen [Manukian], because he said he was irreplaceable and ruled out his withdrawal to support some other candidate. He also said he would not participate in our ‘fruitless’ discussions.”
“Let him go alone, let’s see what his worth is. It was impolite of him to call the meetings that bring together the leaders of seven political parties ‘fruitless’. But we forgive him. And if he changes his mind, he’s free to come and join us,” Hayrikian said.
“Hayk” is concerned with the quality of the Republican Stadium field ahead of the Euro-2008 qualifier between Armenia and Portugal. It quotes Football Federation executive Armen Minasian as saying that no football matches will be played in the stadium until August 22 when the international match is due to take place. But instead, according to the football official, the opening ceremony for the Pan-Armenian Games will be held in the stadium, with about 300 dance groups having performances on the football pitch.
“Armen Minasian says the dancers will be wearing special shoes while performing their dances, but even so, there is little hope that the grass in the field will be in a normal condition after the opening ceremony,” the paper concludes.