(Saturday, April 6)
“Aravot” says opposition leader Raffi Hovannisian has many merits uncharacteristic of Armenian politicians, including his “frank style” and avoidance of offensive statements about his political rivals. “But politics is a different thing,” editorializes the paper. “Of course politics does not have to be cruel and cynical. But politics does have to involve some realistic, tangible goals.” The paper believes that Hovannisian’s views on what Armenia’s policy towards Turkey and other neighbors should be are particularly unrealistic and dangerous.
“The leaders of the new opposition movement hope that a large number of people will gather in the [Liberty] square and they will succeed in realizing their still secret plan,” writes “Hraparak.” “Nobody says why a huge crowd would gather on April 9 if it did not materialize on April 5.”
Interviewed by “168 Zham,” political analyst Manvel Sargsian says he is skeptical about Hovannisian’s calls for President Sarkisian to “share power with the people.” He says that Hovannisian will risk losing his following if he embarks on the kind of dialogue with the authorities which was attempted by the Armenian National Congress (HAK) in 2011.
“Zhamanak” suggests that it is Gagik Tsarukian’s Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK), rather than Hovannisian’s Barev Yerevan bloc, that is likely to be the ruling Republican Party’s main challenger in the upcoming municipal elections in Yerevan. The paper expects the BHK to use its “huge financial resources” to at least finish second in the May 5 polls. “So the authorities and Raffi Hovannisian have not managed to use a historic opportunity to get rid of the BHK, which has become a headache for both of them,” it says, adding that the BHK should be especially worrisome for the authorities with its constant threat to team up with other opposition forces. “Former President Robert Kocharian can use this force created by him for again coming to power,” claims “Zhamanak.”
“Chorrord Inknishkhanutyun” quotes HAK leader Levon Zurabian as saying that the authorities are now trying to offset widespread public antipathy towards the HHK by creating a positive image for Yerevan Mayor Taron Markarian, who tops the ruling party’s list of candidates for the May 5 elections. “They are trying to tell the people that ‘even you hate Serzh Sarkisian vote for Taron because he is a good guy,’” claims Zurabian. “In fact, this is a blatant lie. Taron Markarian is no different from any other member of the thieving regime.” He says the Yerevan municipality is mired in corruption and Markarian is personally involved in that.