Speaking to “Kapital,” Tigran Paskevichian, a well-known pro-opposition intellectual, insists that the opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK) is really committed to forcing pre-term presidential and parliamentary elections in Armenia. He says the HAK believes that only fresh polls could be democratic. “Only elections held as a result of regime change would create equal conditions,” contends Paskevichian. “In all other cases, the authorities will seek to falsify vote results and give a tiny share [of the vote] to forces posing as opposition.” “I see no compromise in the Congress-government relationship,” continues Paskevichian. He says the release of the HAK loyalists remaining in prison can not be considered a serious government concession to the opposition alliance.
Andranik Kocharian, an opposition figure, assures “Zhamanak” that President Serzh Sarkisian’s administration has “less resources” to use deadly force against opposition protesters. Kocharian claims that Armenian security bodies now seem to have regrets about their March 2008 crackdown on the opposition and would think twice before again shooting at protesters. “Both within the police and the army, they have realized a lot in the past three years,” he says. “In my opinion, today it is simply not possible to use these forces in the same fashion.”
“Hayots Ashkhar” says that HAK leaders have for years speculated about infighting and squabbles within Armenia’s leadership. But as it turns out, says the pro-government paper, it is the opposition camp that is now in serious turmoil. “The storm caused there is increasingly intensifying,” it says, adding that many HAK supporters are now disappointed with Levon Ter-Petrosian’s perceived readiness to strike deals with the authorities. It claims that they “do not trust Ter-Petrosian anymore” because they can see that the HAK leader is preparing for regular elections due in 2012 and 2013.
Eduard Sharmazanov, the spokesman for the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK), tells “Iravunk” that the opposition is upset with the “drastic, constructive and daily work of the authorities” because it now has less room for “populism.” “For us, power is not an end in itself,” Sharmazanov says.
“Hraparak” says the authorities seems to have finally realized that they have so far done little to remedy the economic situation in Armenia. “So at some point the authorities realized that it is better to speak of difficulties and problems than to keep their head in the sand,” editorializes the paper. But it says they have grown too detached from socioeconomic realities to radically alleviate the situation.