(Saturday, March 22)
“Aravot” says that for the Armenian authorities dialogue with the opposition means offering opposition leaders government positions and thereby “depopulating the opposition camp.” “But if, for example, for the sake of some false dialogue, Vazgen Manukian is appointed as minister of agriculture while Artashes Geghamian minister of sports, will agriculture and sports thrive as a result?” editorializes the paper. “Or will public tempers be calmed? Real dialogue is not about enticing [opposition leaders] with posts. The opposition must remain in opposition. Namely, not become part of the government and continue to criticize the government. Dialogue is about agreeing on the rules of the game. Such dialogue is non-existent in Armenia.”
“Hayots Ashkhar” hails the signing of a power-sharing agreement by Serzh Sarkisian’s Republican Party and three other pro-establishment parties, saying that the new governing coalition will be “highly representative” of the electorate. The paper finds symbolic the fact that the deal was signed the day after the end of emergency rule in Yerevan. “This means that after the end of a period of political debates and recriminations, the forces that signed the March 21 memorandum are audaciously assuming responsibility for getting the country out of this situation,” it concludes.
“A person can not form a coalition with himself,” comments “Zhamanak Yerevan.” “The four forces that formed it are but integral parts of the same system. The system formed a coalition with itself.” Therefore, says the opposition paper, Sarkisian’s reshuffled cabinet will be “absolutely useless” for defusing Armenia’s post-election political crisis. “The thing is that the crisis exists not within the system but between the government and the public, between the authorities and citizens.”
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” shrugs off Robert Kocharian’s statement that he needs to restore stability in Armenia before handing over power to Serzh Sarkisian. “The situation became unstable and uncontrolled because of the rigged elections,” says the paper, adding that the only way to stabilize it is to annul the election. “There is no other way out. Repressions and ridiculous laws won’t help.”
“Eight citizens of Armenia died on March 1,” writes “168 Zham.” “Official information forced us to officially recognize only one of the victims. An officer whose heroics were described by his comrades-in-arms and whose funeral was attended by high-ranking officials and shown on TV,” says the paper. “But we never hear anything about the seven civilians who died on that day … This indifferent attitude towards the dead civilians generates a sense of disobedience and incertitude in the society.”