“Every person perceives independence in their own way,” “Hraparak” writes in an editorial on the 24th anniversary of a referendum that was followed by the declaration of Armenia’s independence from the Soviet Union. “For different people, it’s an occasion to have a festive meal and to stage a protest march towards the headquarters of the [ruling] Republican Party of Armenia, reason to hope for a state award, an opportunity to talk to the president of Armenia. But many consider independence an inalienable and absolute value which cannot fade away.”
“Aravot” comments on former Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian’s claim that President Serzh Sarkisian is keen to amend the Armenian constitution because he fears the emergence of “a new Serzh Sarkisian” after he serves out his second and final five-year term in office in 2018. The paper believes that Oskanian referred to Robert Kocharian, Sarkisian’s predecessor and his former boss. “It’s a very natural comment for a man who worked as foreign minister under Kocharian,” it says in an editorial. It says other opposition figures have also implied that Sarkisian wants to turn Armenia into a parliamentary republic in order to prevent Kocharian from returning to power.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports on Friday’s rally which will be held in Gyumri by a coalition of opposition and civic groups campaigning against the controversial constitutional changes. “I believe that the pieces of paper and the constitutional referendum pushed forward by Serzhik Sarkisian do not interest at all the vast majority of Gyumri citizens,” Levon Barseghian, a prominent local activist, tells the paper. He claims that only local government officials have to show such an interest because of government orders from Yerevan.
Barseghian also predicts that many local residents will attend Friday’s rally and that “once again Serzh Sarkisian will get an adequate response” from them. He notes that Sarkisian won, according to official results, less than 27 percent of the vote in Gyumri during the February 2013 presidential election. “The problems of the Gyumri residents have remained unsolved since then,” he says.