(Saturday, February 19)
“Zhamanak” calls Friday’s opposition rally in Yerevan “impressive” and says it proved that Levon Ter-Petrosian’s Armenian National Congress (HAK) remains “the undisputed leader of the opposition camp.” The pro-opposition daily notes that Ter-Petrosian and other speakers at the rally gave few details of their upcoming actions, suggesting that it was a prelude to the HAK’s next demonstration scheduled for March 1.
“Hraparak” dismisses police claims that only up to 6,000 people attended the rally, saying that the authorities are “not abandoning their primitive methods of fighting against political rivals.” “Armenia is a small country, and there aren’t many people trusting police actions and words,” writes the paper.
“Chorrord Inknishkhanutyun” singles out Ter-Petrosian’s remark that “Serzh Sarkisian’s ‘Mubarakization’ is just a matter of time.’” “Ter-Petrosian’s predictions are materializing very quickly,” claims the pro-HAK daily. “So let’s wait for interesting developments … Yesterday’s rally proved that the number of Armenia’s fighting citizens has not only not decreased bud has skyrocketed in the last several months. And this is a serious signal.”
“168 Zham” says the rally resembled Ter-Petrosian’s 2008 post-election protests. “The number of participants can be deemed the only message of yesterday’s rally,” writes the paper. “It emphasized the fact that the wave of discontent in Armenia is growing and could reach the point of actually effecting regime change.” But it says HAK leaders did not come up with any concrete “action plan” to exploit that discontent.
“Yerkir” attacks the new power-sharing agreement signed by President Serzh Sarkisian and the three parties represented in his coalition government. The paper controlled by the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) says the ruling coalition is seeking to “impose the status quo on the society” despite the fact that “the majority of the public does not want to come to terms with an increasingly unbearable reality.” The authorities are becoming more and more “alienated from their own people,” it says.
Interviewed by “Hayots Ashkhar,” a senior member of Gagik Tsarukian’s Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK), Naira Zohrabian, says the BHK had nothing to do with intense media speculation about a rift within the coalition that preceded the signing of the coalition deal. Zohrabian says Tsarukian had instructed his allies to show “restraint” in their public statements.