“Aravot” says the criminal cases against opposition supporters are “quite far from legal relationships and completely fit into the purely political sphere.” The paper says that those who looted and burned shops on March 1-2 were not opposition agents. “Looters and arsonists are tried and get suspended jail terms, while oppositionists remain in jail on mass charges,” it says in an editorial.
Interviewed by “Hayots Ashkhar,” the chairman of the Armenian parliamentary commission investigating the March 1 violence, Samvel Nikoyan, deplores angry protests staged by opposition supporters attending trials of opposition detainees. “In any [other] Council of Europe state such a thing would not be tolerated and would receive a clear evaluation,” he says. “Here other standards are at work. They can insult, humiliate, throw cigarettes at a judge.” Nikoyan complains that the Council of Europe sees nothing wrong with that. “Certainly this is overt pressure on the judicial system,” he adds. “All criminal elements who took part in the looting and arsons have become objects of [opposition] worship, politicians, political prisoners.”
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” hits out at Dashnaktsutyun leader Armen Rustamian for speaking out against the idea of holding fresh elections on the grounds that “Armenia still has no fully independent electoral system.” “In reality, Dashnaktsutyun is against pre-term elections not for that reason but because it is a part of the government, has ministerial portfolios and, if there are pre-term elections, it will most probably lose all that,” says the opposition paper. “It turns out that when Dashnaktsutyun was demanding pre-term elections in 1995 and 1996 our electoral system was more developed.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” says President Serzh Sarkisian’s overtures to Turkey are “pathetic” in the light of the fact that Armenia has been left out of regional commercial projects over the past decade. “If he has already realized that it is not possible to ensure Armenia’s development without establishing normal relations with neighbors, then he has realized that too late. A person with such intellect has no right to aspire to the post of president of Armenia. But if he realized that earlier but stayed silent and did not prevent Robert Kocharian from continuing his ‘victorious’ policy, then he is even more at fault.”
“The entire public, regardless of political beliefs, is demanding [from the government] a political will to carry out changes,” writes “Golos Armenii.” “That’s what the ruling coalition, the opposition, the public, Europe demand. But more importantly, the need for changes is evident to the president himself.” The paper says Sarkisian has taken important steps since his April 9 inauguration but needs to do more to “put the country on a path of stability and democratic development.”