“Haykakan Zhamanak” claims that Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian made no public statements on the day of the Armenian dram devaluation because “he didn’t know what will happen the next day.” “His claim that the situation is under control was made only after the situation stabilized,” says the opposition daily. It dismisses as “unconvincing” Sarkisian’s arguments that the authorities were right to shore up the dram until the beginning of this week. It says sharp exchange rate fluctuations on the contrary create more opportunities for currency speculators.
“Zhamanak” links Gagik Beglarian’s appointment as Yerevan mayor with the May 31 municipal elections. The paper accuses the authorities of giving an unfair advantage to President Serzh Sarkisian’s Republican Party of Armenia (HHK). “All other potential candidates, whether they are from the opposition or government camp, can not wield the kind of resources that are possessed by the acting mayor,” it says. “It is therefore Serzh Sarkisian who violated the principle of competition in the May 31 elections. Forgetting his high state status, he displayed a narrow partisan approach with unhidden support for one of the candidates Secondly, the so-called ruling elite proved that without a total use of administrative resources it can not organize election campaigns.”
“The Republican Party is seeking to concentrate administrative levers and win as many municipal assembly seats as possible,” writes “Kapital.” “Beglarian’s appointment, however, is a prelude to a big game or only one element of a complex scenario. The next element is a [government] decision to attack the post of Yerevan with separate teams and [electoral] lists. It can be inferred from all this that the other coalition forces already accept the Republican Party’s victory and claim to the post of mayor.” The paper says that by contesting the elections separately the coalition parties also hope to “pulverize” opposition votes.
“Hayots Ashkhar” says that the key point of opposition leader Levon Ter-Petrosian’s March 1 speech was not his grim economic forecasts or rejection of a “revolution” but his stated readiness to join a “government of national unity.” The paper speculates that Ter-Petrosian’s statement could spread discord within the governing coalition.
“The opposition and the authority are parts of the same society, and I would advise them not to think with ‘us’ and ‘them’ categories,” Armen Harutiunian, the state human rights ombudsman, tells “Yerkir.” “It is this division into ‘us’ and ‘them’ that hinders the building of our statehood.” Harutiunian also voices support for the idea of an amnesty for arrested oppositionists which he says could lay the groundwork for a national “consolidation.”