“Aravot” says that calls by the government and its loyalists for their opponents not to “politicize” things will ring hollow as long as Armenia lacks an independent judiciary. “Take, for example, the massacre of March 1 [2008.] How can we not politicize it? If, for instance, the masterminds and perpetrators of those killings had appeared before court in the summer of 2008 it would have been possible to conclude that law-enforcers wrongly used weapons during a peaceful opposition rally and were punished for that. But since nobody has been punished in the last five years and several dozen opposition leaders and activists have been put on trial instead, we can conclude that it is our law-enforcement and judicial systems that are guided by political motives.”
“Hayots Ashkhar” carries an interview with Samvel Nikoyan, a senior pro-government lawmaker who led a parliamentary inquiry into the March 2008 violence that was boycotted by the opposition. Nikoyan says those tragic events demonstrated that prolonged street protests could lead to bloodshed regardless of their organizers’ intentions. “Of course, a lot also depends on the opposition leader’s rhetoric,” he adds. Nikoyan also expresses hope that the current post-election rallies in Yerevan will not end in trouble, arguing that their main organizer, Raffi Hovannisian, has so far avoided “disseminating aggression within the society.”
“Can anyone dispute the opposition claim that the current National Assembly does not reflect the real political landscape?” “Zhoghovurd” asks rhetorically in an editorial. “To those making such claims it is worth reminding that the second largest parliamentary force, Prosperous Armenia (BHK), is now totally outside of the unfolding political processes. If the 450,000 votes received by the BHK [in the May 2012 elections] are real ones, then this political force should have in no case placed itself beyond political processes … and stepped aside.”
“Zhamanak” reports that Yerevan Mayor Taron Markarian will top the list of candidates of the ruling Republican Party (HHK) for next May’s municipal elections. The HHK’s governing body headed by President Serzh Sarkisian announced a corresponding decision late on Thursday. The paper gives three possible explanations for the move. First, Sarkisian wants to keep Markarian as Yerevan mayor as a sign of respect for his late father, Prime Minister Andranik Markarian. Second, Markarian is regarded by the president as a “good mayor.” And third, Markarian is widely respected within the government system, according to the paper.