Opposition leader Stepan Demirchian disagrees with “Aravot” in that his Artarutyun bloc lost its chance of coming to power at the beginning of 2003 and will fail to renew a campaign of massive street protests this winter. “Our people have not come to terms and, by their mentality, can not come to terms with the violent seizure of power. So the regime has no support base,” he claims.
Sociologist Hranush Kharatian, however, does not believe that the Demirchian-led opposition will succeed in forcing a referendum of confidence in President Robert Kocharian. “First of all, because there is now a lot of disappointment with the opposition itself,” she tells “Hayots Ashkhar.” Kharatian says the opposition has failed to come up with any “constructive idea” except the resignation of Kocharian. None of its leaders can offer a credible alternative to the Armenian president, she adds.
But another pro-Kocharian figure pays tribute to the opposition in the same newspaper for doing nothing that would “shatter the foundations of the state.” “I find it positive that the Artarutyun bloc and Stepan Demirchian personally did not resort to steps that could lead us to national ruin during the period of [post-election] demonstrations,” says Levon Mkrtchian, the parliamentary leader of the governing Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun). Mkrtchian also sees strong public mistrust in the current government fueled by the populist discourse of Armenian parties. They must stop promising things which they can not deliver, he concludes.
Asked by “Haykakan Zhamanak” to comment on the possible inclusion of the People’s Deputy group of non-partisan parliamentarians into the governing coalition, its leader Karen Karapetian says he has received no such offers yet. “Let the coalition offer its rules of the game and then we will say yes or no. But in the meantime, the coalition has a much more serious problem,” Karapetian says. “The coalition parties must ascertain relations inside the coalition itself. It is really not pleasant for us to work under such relations.” Hinting at the Dashnaktsutyun and Orinats Yerkir parties, he complains that some coalition partners are now contradicting their pre-election campaign promises.
In a yearend commentary, “Iravunk” asserts that the past year saw “no tangible progress” in Armenia’s political and economic development. The paper says most senior government officials and bureaucrats still do not regard themselves as civil servants, continuing to treat fellow citizens with contempt. “All of that naturally comes from the top [of the country’s leadership.] But the population too is to blame for that. For people easily and quietly tolerate such treatment and have never learned to fight back.”