(Saturday, December 22)
“Hayots Ashkhar” reports that 160 Armenian journalists have signed a letter to parliament speaker Abrahamian demanding that he explicitly condemn pro-government deputy Mher Sedrakian for threatening to assault a reporter and prevent more such incidents in the future. Or else, the letter says, Abrahamian should release a list of potentially violent deputies whom journalists should avoid interviewing. “This latter emphasis may be sarcastic but it is probably appropriate,” comments the paper.
“Zhoghovurd” asks Zdzislaw Raczynski, Poland’s ambassador in Yerevan, to explain whether Armenia can simultaneously carry on with European integration and join the Eurasian Union led by Russia. “We do understand the relationship existing between Armenia and Russia,” says Raczynski. “On the other hand, it is obvious that Armenia should not throw itself into any program. I don’t know of a single country where traffic is simultaneously left-side and right-side.”
“Zhamanak” describes as “totally rational” the decision by Aram Sarkisian, the leader of the opposition Hanrapetutyun (Republic) party, not to run in the upcoming presidential election. “And not just because Aram Sarkisian stands no chance in the presidential election,” writes the paper. “Aram Sarkisian’s decision is rational in the sense that there are already two pronounced opposition candidates, Hrant Bagratian and Raffi Hovannisian, and Aram Sarkisian’s candidacy would in essence be redundant. Especially given that just like Bagratian and Hovannisian, Aram Sarkisian has a pro-Western orientation.”
“Hraparak” complains that accusations of secret cooperation with the government traded by various opposition groups have become “an integral part of the political life” in Armenia. “This is a dangerous path,” writes the paper. “It is characteristic of a society with a morbid consciousness that suspects, looks for conspiracies and sees enemies everywhere.”
“Chorrord Inknishkhanutyun” says it is possible that only pro-government candidates will remain in the Armenian presidential race, which would allow Serzh Sarkisian to get over 80 percent of the vote. “But in that case the authorities will have to admit that only 35 percent of eligible voters took part in the presidential elections, which would admittedly not look nice,” speculated the pro-opposition daily. “True, there is no quorum requirement, but there is an issue of legitimacy. So the authorities have two options. Either they resort to massive fraud and ‘paint’ a 65 percent voter turnout or declare that Serzh Sarkisian has won but 65 percent of the electorate has boycotted the elections.”