(Saturday, June 23)
“The president does not change cadres while the prime minister [the government’s] socioeconomic policy,” editorializes “Yerkir.” “They both do not want to change the society. This is not conservatism because conservatism does not reject changes that do not contradict values. This desire to change nothing comes from their distrust of anything new and the resulting fear because a new thing is also unpredictable.” The paper claims that for President Serzh Sarkisian the biggest virtue of government officials is loyalty, rather than competence or professionalism.
Petros Makeyan, a senior member of the opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK), tells “168 Zham” that the heated debates in the new National Assembly cannot address or disguise a lack of democracy in Armenia. “The parliament was formed through the good will of two persons: Serzh Sarkisian and Robert Kocharian,” Makeyan says. “The society, the people had no influence on the formation of this parliament. The people were used as a commodity.” Makeyan points to alleged vote buying by Sarkisian’s Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) and Gagik Tsarukian’s Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK).
Interviewed by “Haykakan Zhamanak,” Aleksandr Arzumanian, a leader of the opposition Free Democrats party, does not exclude that the country’s leading opposition forces will field a common candidate in next year’s presidential election. Arzumanian suggests that the opposition should rally around the idea of turning Armenia into a parliamentary republic. “If a [single] candidate caters for the program agreed upon by all [opposition] forces does their name matter?” he says.
“Zhamanak” says the severe beating of three military doctors at a restaurant in Yerevan highlighted the need to “neutralize Armenia’s criminal-oligarchic system.” The paper says that system is completely detached from the society.
“Aravot” notes that pro-government deputies of the Armenian parliament counter criticism voiced by their colleagues from former President Levon Ter-Petrosian’s HAK with references to the economic hardship of the 1990s. The paper disapproves of this tactic, saying that evaluation of the bright and dark sides of Ter-Petrosian’s rule should be left to historians and perhaps political scientists. “Those historical references can hardly bring answers to contemporary challenges,” it says in an editorial.