A disappointed “Aravot” writes that the Armenian opposition has failed to capitalize on international criticism of the recent presidential election and is now preparing for the parliamentary elections instead of protesting against Robert Kocharian’s reelection on a “permanent” basis. The paper says the Council of Europe, for example, has already drawn a line under the Armenian presidential elections and is now preoccupied with the legislative elections due next month.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that a high-level Armenian delegation comprising Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian, several other government members and leading businessmen has been in Moscow since March 24 on a visit “shrouded in secrecy.” The paper suggests that the Armenians are discussing with top Russian officials, including President Vladimir Putin’s chief of staff, ways of “predetermining” the outcome of the parliamentary elections.
“Aravot,” meanwhile, laments what it sees as an aura of omnipotence built around Serzh Sarkisian by the Armenian media political pundits. The paper says they wrongly attribute to him “super-natural” abilities and powers to control every aspect of Armenia’s political and economic life. “Everybody is trying to be friends with him. When talking about any issue, they point to his go-ahead or cite one of his remarks; brag about how many times they shook his hands, how many times they have visited his office, sat with him around the table and drank toasts.”
“The existing situation [in Armenia] is characteristic of a dictatorial society and is fraught with unpredictable consequences,” Victor Dallakian, chairman of the parliament committee on legal affairs tells “Orran.” “The authorities are terminally sick and need surgical interference. The ruling regime, the clan-based economy with its shadow resources, security structures, corrupt bureaucrats, bribed electoral commissions, city mobsters and the criminal underworld have grown together.” Their aim is to create an “illusion of democracy” to continue to dominate the country. “This is a deadlock, this not a way out. Any pressure [on the regime] engenders counter-pressure, making the situation explosive,” Dallakian warns.
“Hayots Ashkhar” says the Armenian opposition has “unconstitutional” expectations from the Constitutional Court which is due to consider its appeal against the election results. The paper says that having failed to come up with compelling evidence of electoral fraud, the opposition is cozying up to Constitutional Court chairman Gagik Harutiunian in the hope that he will invalidate Kocharian’s reelection. “Stepan Demirchian and his team are well aware that it is simply impossible for them to substantiate their appeal on the legal plane. So they have been confined to the political plane.”
“Yerkir” reports that the former manager of the Hrazdan thermal power plan who faced corruption charges two years ago has withdrawn from the electoral list of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun). The paper says Marat Martirosian sent a corresponding letter to the Central Election Commission. (Incidentally, the charges against Martirosian followed a parliamentary inquiry led by a leading member of Dashnaktsutyun.) The Dashnaktsutyun paper quotes an unnamed spokesman for the party as thanking pro-opposition media for brining this fact to light and hoping that they will scrutinize other electoral slates with the same diligence.