(Saturday, July 13)
“Chorrord Inknishkhanutyun” believes that President Serzh Sarkisian is facing growing pressure from both Russia and the European Union and finding it increasingly hard to continue to maneuver between the two foreign power centers. The pro-opposition paper says the only way out of this difficult situation is for the Armenian opposition to tell the international community that Sarkisian has no mandate to play such “games.” “In that case, it would be probably possible to salvage something. Assuming, of course, that it’s not already too late,” it says.
Hovannes Sahakian, a senior lawmaker from Sarkisian’s Republican Party of Armenia (HHK), tells “Hayots Ashkhar” that the Armenian authorities are determined to conclude the Association Agreement with the EU. Sahakian insists that there are “no obstacles” to finalizing the agreement at the EU’s November summit in Vilnius. “We have nothing to hide from anybody and do not intend to engage in any dubious games,” he says.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that Garegin Chukaszian, a leader of a small opposition movement called Preparliament, was briefly detained by the police in Yerevan following a rally on Friday. The paper says that on the face of it the authorities do not need to crack down on Preparliament because its ongoing rallies are too poorly attended to pose a threat to their grip on power. “But the thing is that the authorities are perfectly aware of the extent of discontent in the country and realize that even the slightest [opposition] activity is potentially dangerous for them,” it says. “And so they are fighting against any source of a potential wave of unrest.”
“168 Zham” quotes Sasun Mikaelian, a former prominent member of the Armenian National Congress (HAK), as again criticizing the opposition party led by former President Levon Ter-Petrosian. “If they were a real opposition they would have participated in the presidential elections,” says Mikaelian. The HAK strategy is “very wrong,” he says.