(Saturday, February 28)
“Hraparak” believes that the opposition Zharangutyun party’s refusal to join Levon Ter-Petrosian’s Armenian National Congress (HAK) for the time being is a setback for former president’s efforts to consolidate the opposition. “In general, consolidation processes in Armenia do not work,” comments the paper. “Splits happen much more often.”
“Azg” says that President Serzh Sarkisian will have serious difficulty implementing his reform agenda if he mainly relies only on his Republican Party (HHK). The paper says the HHK will strongly resist political and economic reforms. “As for the extremist opposition, it has no desire for constructive dialogue and criticism,” it says. “That is, they will use every [government] mistake to discredit the government and the country. Therefore during [Sarkisian’s] second hundred days [in power] steps should be taken to defuse political tension, implement economic reforms and get rid of discredited officials in the president’s entourage.”
According to “Golos Armenii,” the objectives set by President Sarkisian and his prime minister, Tigran Sarkisian, are “opening a new page” in the country’s post-Soviet history.
“Today’s opposition is the Popular Movement led by Levon Ter-Petrosian,” writes “Aravot.” “Like it or not, that’s an undeniable reality because it is this opposition which thousands of people are following. People unhappy with the existing situation are pinning their hopes for getting rid of the current authorities on this opposition and nobody else.” By the same token, continues the paper, parties that claimed to be in “constructive” opposition to the Ter-Petrosian administration from 1991-1998 were not taken seriously.
“Unfortunately, the authorities do not want to listen to the voice of the constructive opposition,” Vazgen Safarian, the leader of the Progressive Communist Party, tells “Hayots Ashkhar.” “They listen to or fear those persons who have a large following and try to exert strong pressure on the authorities. The authorities are failing to find persons with constructive mentality and bring them to the fore.”
“They [the authorities] do not realize that the disastrous consequence for them will be not a tough Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly resolution but a new wave of the popular movement,” says “Chorrord Ishkhanutyun.” “This is what the PACE president is warning them of.”
“It is evident that the peak of the opposition activity and energy is gone,” Armen Ashotian, a parliament deputy from the HHK, is quoted by “Hayastani Hanrapetutyun” as saying at a news conference on Friday.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” also covers the news conference, singling out Ashotian’s attack on the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun). The paper says he accused Dashnaktsutyun of “solving its own problems” at the expense of the HHK. Dashnaktsutyun should not have joined President Sarkisian’s coalition government in the first place, he said.