(Saturday, March 19)
“Aravot” writes that although Armenia’s first post-Communist government headed by Levon Ter-Petrosian quickly “became just like the Communist elite,” failure by the ex-president’s Armenian National Congress (HAK) to hold antigovernment demonstrations would make the country’s current leadership even more self-confident and indifferent to the plight of the people. The paper says that in theory there can be other mechanisms for holding the Armenian government in check.
“One may, for instance, have a more or less decent parliament where political forces would be represented instead of uneducated businessmen looking for tutelage,” “Aravot” says in an editorial. “But methods of organizing the nation that are more civilized and safer than rallies have not taken hold in Armenia. The current rally organizers are also to blame for that.”
“Zhamanak” says the March 17 opposition rally in Yerevan’s Liberty Square sparked the creation of “new rules of the game between the authorities and the opposition.” “Of course, the rules are not yet clear, and in all likelihood they will never be clear,” comments the paper sympathetic to the HAK. At the same time, it says, there are still no signs that the two rival camps will embark on a meaningful dialogue anytime soon.
“Chorrord Inknishkhanutyun” suggests that President Serzh Sarkisian is “extremely dissatisfied” with his government’s track record. “He is telling them that ‘You are failing to curb inflation, explain to the people what you are up to, you are behaving like petty rulers in the regions’ and so on,” says the opposition daily. Nevertheless, it says, senior representatives of Sarkisian’s Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) have made clear that a change of government is not on the cards.
Artak Davtian, a parliament deputy from the HHK, assures “Hayots Ashkhar” that the European Court of Human Rights did not obligate the Armenian authorities in 2008 to reopen the independent TV station A1+. “Anyone more or less familiar with that decision knows that there was no such demand [in the court’s ruling on A1+,]” says Davtian. “It says only that the decisions to reject [A1+ applications for broadcasting licenses] were not properly substantiated because that was not envisaged by the existing law.” Davtian argues that one of the amendments to Armenia’s law on television and radio requires the National Commission on Television and Radio to substantiate its decisions.