“Aravot” says that the opposition Zharangutyun party will only benefit from its refusal to participate in the municipal elections in Yerevan. “If that party participated in the elections on its own, it would not avoid a barrage of verbal abuse from supporters of the Armenian National Congress for a single minute,” editorializes the paper. But, it says, the Zharangutyun boycott is “absolutely not beneficial” for many Yerevan residents. “Who are Zharangutyun’s voters? Those who don’t want the [ruling] coalition to win the elections but understand that even under a best-case scenario these elections will not result in regime change. Those who are against Gagik Beglarian’s candidacy but will not vote for the list headed by Levon Ter-Petrosian either.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” is relieved by Zharangutyun’s decision, saying that it is even better than its possible alliance with Ter-Petrosian’s HAK would have been. “If Zharangutyun had entered the fray it would have been difficult to imagine its further relations with the Armenian National Congress,” says the pro-Ter-Petrosian paper. It describes Zharangutyun’s decision as a “step fostering a radical regime change” in the country.
“Hayots Ashkhar” calls the decision a “big surprise,” but says it will not pave the way for the HAK’s victory in the May 31 polls. The paper says figuratively that the Armenian authorities “will attack the Council of Elders and then the post of mayor with four military columns,” referring to the Republican Party of Armenia and its three coalition partners contesting the elections separately.
“Kapital” quotes Deputy Finance Minister Pavel Safarian as saying that the Armenian government will not cut back on social spending despite the deepening economic crisis. Safarian also tells the paper that the government does not plan any layoffs of public sector workers. He says the government has so far only “delayed” some of its expenditures envisaged by the state budget for 2009.
“Hraparak” says Shant Harutiunian, one of the seven oppositionists facing trial on coup charges, has not been allowed to meet relatives and talk to them by phone since being taken to a psychiatric clinic in Yerevan last week. The pro-opposition paper denounces this fact as “torture.” It quotes Harutiunian as saying that his psychiatric examination ordered by a judge may take up to 24 days.