“Golos Armenii” says that the municipal elections in Yerevan scheduled for May 31 “will reflect political parties’ real place in the country’s political space.” “They will, for example, resolve the prolonged dispute between the Orinats Yerkir and Prosperous Armenia parties over who is the second [most important] party after the Republicans in the ruling coalition,” says the paper. It claims that the main opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK) “may avoid a disgrace” if it decides to boycott the polls, citing the existence of political prisoners in the country.
“The authorities have been trying to find ways out of the existing situation, and one potential solution would have been to call a large-scale amnesty in October-November 2008,” Victor Dallakian, an independent parliament deputy, tells “Hayots Ashkhar.” “Because at that time there was no external pressure and the opposition campaign of rallies was temporarily frozen. If the authorities had declared a general amnesty, political tension would have somewhat eased.” Dallakian believes that the authorities will eventually free all oppositionists and that the only question is just when and how they will do that.
In an interview with “Haykakan Zhamanak,” Gegham Baghdasarian, an independent Karabakh lawmaker, criticizes those government opponents in Armenia who try to exploit the Karabakh origin of Serzh Sarkisian and Robert Kocharian. “It is easier to blame the Karabakhis and make them a scapegoat, it is easier to fight against someone else than against oneself,” says Baghdasarian. “But there is one nuance here. Which Karabakh do they hate? The Karabakh they know is the Karabakh-born leaders of Armenia. They don’t know of other Karabakh. In essence, they don’t know Karabakh at all.”
“Businessmen holding state positions have turned into oligarchs who have avoided paying sufficient taxes by abusing their state positions, distorted markets with unequal conditions, breached the rules of competition, impeded or prevented small and medium-sized business’ entry into manufacturing and thereby sharply deepened social polarization in the republic,” Vahram Nercissiantz, President Sarkisian’s chief economic adviser, tells “Aravot.”
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” says that there is renewed talk in the corridors of power of Robert Kocharian’s return to active politics. There are rumors, it says, that Kocharian and Sarkisian met at the weekend and discussed the former president’s possible comeback. The opposition paper describes Kocharian as a protégé of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.