“168 Zham” carries a Mediamax news agency interview with Peter Semneby in which the former EU special representative to the South Caucasus says that the deadly post-election clashes of March 2008 should not influence Armenia’s politics now as much as they did in their immediate aftermath.
“I hope that these events are now far enough back in time in order not to necessarily involve the same emotional reactions as was the case when this was brought up in the immediate aftermath of March events in 2008. It’s time now to have a fair assessment of what happened, and I think it could definitely have a use for all. But everybody has to be of that same mindset. These March events should not be part of the current political agenda now as they were for quite some time after they happened. This is more now but healing a wound that is painful for all those who were involved at the time,” Semneby says.
“Zhamanak” asks former interior minister Suren Abrahamian, who is now affiliated with the main opposition Armenian National Congress, to comment on Semneby’s statement. The oppositionist describes it as an approach of an outsiders “who only follows the European criteria, but does not feel the pain and is not part of this people.” “He hasn’t felt on his skin the whole injustice and amorality of the elections. But for every citizen of Armenia the March 1 page will not be closed, it is like a brand burned on the forehead of the authorities,” Abrahamian says.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” seeks to find an answer to the question of how many people are eligible to vote in Armenia today. “This is a question that has several answers. According to the official statistics, at present the number of eligible voters is around 2,486,000. The simplest logic suggests that the number of eligible voters cannot grow in a country where the population keeps dwindling. Even according to the official statistics the number of people who departed from Armenia in the past two years is by 106,000 more than the number of those who arrived in the country. It means that three percent of the population has abandoned Armenia in the last couple of years.”
In an interview with “Hayots Ashkhar” Garnik Isagulian, the permanent representative of President Serzh Sarkisian to the National Assembly, lambastes the opposition for undermining the credibility of Armenia’s upcoming parliamentary elections with its claims that the vote will be rigged. “Such a manner of action will have negative consequences for the opposition itself. It is obvious that for certain opposition groups the parliamentary elections and their results are not essential, as they have other, far-ranging goals. Regardless of the results, they are already now prepared to turn the post-election stage into a revolutionary situation. For this very reason, the authorities will do everything for our people to trust that the elections will be free and fair.”