“Zhamanak” reports that the Yerevan municipality has refused to allow the Armenian National Congress (HAK) to hold its next rally in Liberty Square. “The authorities are thereby rejecting one of the HAK’s three demands that were voiced at the April 8 rally,” says the paper. It says this means that the authorities are even less likely to satisfy those demands before the April 28 deadline set by HAK leader Levon Ter-Petrosian. But, adds the paper, the political situation in Armenia “could change drastically at any moment.”
Ashot Manucharian, a veteran politician and pundit, assures “Kapital” that the HAK is indeed keen to force fresh presidential and parliamentary elections in Armenia. “The situation within the country is becoming such that the only way out of it is pre-term elections,” he says. “In this sense, what the HAK is saying and doing is leading to that.” Still, Manucharian cautions that he is still not sure that the HAK is able to draw “all the people” into its campaign.
Artyusha Shahbazian, a parliament deputy from the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun), tells “Hayots Ashkhar” that his party has come up with a viable “format” for uniting the Armenian opposition. “What we are saying is that let’s rally around one common goal and idea which is not a Dashnaktsutyun monopoly,” he says. Shahbazarian says one such idea is the conduct of “fair and transparent elections.” “We have not yet decided whether we will contest the [next] elections separately or will be joined by other forces,” he adds. He stresses at the same time that Dashnaktsutyun will not form “artificial” electoral alliances.
“Yerkir” predicts that Dashnaktsutyun will go it alone. “If it overcomes the vote threshold [for winning parliament seats,] that will be good,” writes the Dashnaktsutyun-linked daily. “If it doesn’t, that will not be the end of the world. Dashnaktsutyun would [in that case] avoid a very unpleasant headache: with whom should it cooperate in the pre-election period?” The paper complains that many Armenian parties now say that Dashnaktsutyun should itself ask them for cooperation. “At least 90 percent of the political field is government projects,” it says, adding that this includes both the governing parties and elements in the radical opposition.