Writing in “Haykakan Zhamanak,” political prisoner Petros Makeyan says that Armenia’s “ruling clan” will not call a general amnesty for all arrested opposition members because “that would mean a loss of power.”
Makeyan says that is why the Armenian authorities will not comply the Council of Europe resolutions. “Sadly, we can conclude that Armenia’s ruling clique has succeeded in misleading or imposing their will on representatives of international structures as well,” he says, alleging that those representatives may have been bribed by the Armenian government.
Opposition leader Raffi Hovannisian tells “Aravot” that it is still not clear whether the political situation in Armenia will be on the agenda of this month’s session of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE). Hovannisian says a fresh PACE debate on Armenia depends on political developments of the next three weeks. He is worried that the Armenian authorities may use the upcoming mayoral elections in Yerevan to dissuade the Strasbourg-based assembly from holding such a debate.
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” says that officials from the ArmRosGazprom gas utility have been visiting Yerevan apartments and collecting their residents’ passport numbers on the grounds that gas prices in Armenia rose on April 1. The opposition attributes that to the May 31 municipal elections, noting that the ArmRosGazprom chief, Karen Karapetian, is fifth on the ruling Republican Party’s list of candidates.
Speaking to “Hayots Ashkhar,” Eduard Sharmazanov, the Republican Party (HHK) spokesman, justifies the HHK’s decision not to contest the elections jointly with its three junior partners in the governing coalition. “The coalition parties do not avoid competition because they are confident that intra-coalition relationships will not suffer from that,” he says.
“Golos Armenii” says that the effectiveness of government policies is even more vital now that the Armenian economy is in crisis. “It must be stressed that in the conditions of crisis the behavior of the [country’s] supreme leadership will be determined, in the political sense, by the unity of the governing party,” says the Russian-language paper. “Of course the economic crisis theoretically can heighten the coalition parliament’s and government members’ worries about the strength of their positions because it drives actors of the political class into individual strategies.”