“Hraparak” claims that President Serzh Sarkisian has decided to form a new power base in order to shore up his positions. “The old one, the Republican Party (HHK), has effectively proved its inability to adapt to new conditions,” says the paper, adding that Sarkisian now wants to rely on a small pro-government party, the MIAK, led by young government supporters who are “not discredited yet.” It says Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian could soon become the new leader of that party.
“March 1 was a good lesson for everyone and we believe that nobody will now allow things to go that far,” says “Hayots Ashkhar.” The paper says the government will not hesitate to increase the number of “so-called political prisoners” if the opposition led by Levon Ter-Petrosian tries to stage another anti-government revolt.
“Zhamanak Yerevan” comments on Thursday’s parliamentary hearings on human rights Ombudsman Armen Harutiunian’s controversial report on the March 1 clashes in Yerevan which has been strongly criticized by the Armenian authorities. “The hearings proved that the government apparatus is ready to rip apart anyone daring to express views on things and phenomena differing from the official one,” says the opposition paper.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” says that during the hearings Prosecutor-General Aghvan Hovsepian declined to answer tough questions asked by opposition parliamentarians. One of them, Armen Martirosian, wanted to know if any criminal cases were open in connection with the deaths of the ten people involved in the March 1 unrest. Nor did Hovsepian explain why law-enforcement authorities are taking no “investigative actions” against three opposition deputies arrested as part of the government crackdown.
“Iravunk” criticizes the Ter-Petrosian-led opposition for its plans to hold a rally in Yerevan on June 20 even if it is not sanctioned by the authorities. The paper claims that the opposition is becoming “increasingly impudent,” buoyed by “the authorities’ fearful steps to please Europe.” “The Levonites are convinced that the release of some of their loyalists in court is the result of a government fear, rather than a desire to start dialogue [with the opposition,]” it says.
“Aravot” dismisses government loyalists’ claims that Ter-Petrosian enjoyed Western support in his bid to topple Armenia’s leadership and that the West has no moral right to teach Armenia lessons of democracy. The paper believes that the West’s reaction to the Armenian government’s handling of the presidential election and ensuing developments was “extremely soft.”