(Saturday, February 2)
“We have a powerful tradition of unsolved political crimes and I don’t think that it will be breached this time around,” “Hraparak” editor Armine Ohanian writes in a commentary on the shooting attack on opposition presidential candidate Paruyr Hayrikian. “But it must be noted that everyone will be trying to benefit from what happened: law-enforcers, presidential candidates and the authorities.”
“A presidential candidate in Armenia was shot for the first time ever,” Vartan Harutiunian, a human rights activist and a Soviet-era dissident, tells “Aravot.” “True, there has been violence against presidential candidates before … But this is the first case of a presidential candidate being shot.”
But as Ashot Manucharian, a veteran politician and pundit, tells “168 Zham,” political killings and assassination attempts have not been unusual in Armenia since the early 1990s. “This means people think that something can be done here in this way,” says Manukian. It is therefore incumbent on the Armenian government and society to “take all measures to save the country from upheavals,” he adds.
Opposition leader Stepan Demirchian assures “Haykakan Zhamanak” that he and his People’s Party of Armenia (HZhK) have never considered pulling out of Levon Ter-Petrosian’s Armenian National Congress (HAK) alliance. “On the contrary, the HZhK and other political forces making up the HAK … should try to make the HAK’s activities more effective,” he says. “There will certainly be discussions in the Congress in connection with that. If there are rational proposals I think they will be accepted.” Demirchian also believes that while the Armenian opposition has made mistakes it is the authorities that are primarily responsible for the existing situation in the country. They “have failed in all areas” and are continuing to rig elections and keep people mired in poverty, he claims.