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Press Review


(Saturday, June 2)

“Aravot” says Armenian opposition parties elected to the new National Assembly were right not to boycott its sessions on a permanent basis. “Boycott can be an effective method of political struggle only if it has a strong public resonance and at least partly thwarts the realization of rivals’ programs,” editorializes the paper. “That happens when a particular political force takes an extremely radical and intransigent position, does not engage in any dialogue with its rivals and manages to always keep public tension high.” The opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK) and Zharangutyun (Heritage) party are not so radical these days and their decisions to take up their parliament seats were “logical,” it says.

Zhirayr Sefilian, the leader of the Sardarapat opposition movement, tells “Zhoghovurd” that ordinary Armenians must not be blamed for vote buying in the May 6 parliamentary elections. He says opposition politicians making such accusations themselves are at fault because they took part in the elections and thus legitimized “that game.” “The fact that the opposition has for years failed to achieve results is down to the opposition ineptness, rather than the government’s strength,” Sefilian claims.

“Yerkir” notes that the Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) is still refusing to refer to itself as an opposition organization despite a clause in the parliament’s statutes stipulating that a party not represented in the government is in opposition to it. BHK representatives speak instead of their being an “alternative” to the government and having a “constructive” stance. The paper says these fuzzy characterizations, are “dangerous in terms of the political culture.” BHK statements, it says, imply that the openly opposition forces are “destructive and therefore subversive.”

“Hayots Ashkhar” points out that the parliament statutes allow opposition deputies to chair some National Assembly committees. The quotes Artak Davtian, a parliament deputy from the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK), as saying that the BHK was given control of four such committees because of agreements with the HHK, rather than the statutes. “So there is that cooperation [between the BHK and the parliament majority] and I can only welcome that,” Davtian says.

“Zhamanak” speculates that President Serzh Sarkisian might turn to his predecessor Robert Kocharian for help only if he faces a serious opposition challenge to his rule. For the moment, the paper says, the HAK and other opposition groups are not posing such a threat to the president.

(Aghasi Yenokian)
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