Interviewed by “Hayots Ashkhar,” Levon Mkrtchian, the parliamentary leader of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun), rejects any parallels between the recent constitutional referendum in Armenia and Azerbaijan’s parliamentary elections. “The international community’s reaction to the two events has been extremely different,” he says. “Also different are the situations surrounding them.” Mkrtchian says opposition argument that the authorities in Yerevan and Baku are now more susceptible to international pressure over Karabakh is therefore “absolutely illogical.” “I don’t think pressure on Armenia is possible within that context,” he adds.
But opposition lawmaker Victor Dallakian presents a diametrically opposite view in “Aravot.” “We are close to the resolution of the Karabakh issue,” he says. “That has to happen in 2006. It is already clear to me that the international community will display an asymmetric attitude to Armenia and Azerbaijan.” Dallakian claims that the West will find it easier to impose peaceful solutions on Ilham Aliev and Robert Kocharian as the two men have been further “weakened” by the vote rigging allegations. That is why he believes the Armenian opposition stands no chance of effecting regime change this month. “This should have been made clear to the people,” he says.
Dallakian also accuses Western ambassadors in Yerevan of illegally campaigning for the passage of Kocharian’s constitutional amendments. “With that position they have encouraged vote falsifications,” he says.
“Hayastani Hanrapetutyun” attacks the opposition Artarutyun alliance for naming Stepan Demirchian as its new representative to the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly. “Of course, it’s good that Stepan Demirchian, as many people says, is very fluent in English,” writes the government paper. “It is clear that language skills play a role in international relations. But more important is what he will be saying in English.” It says Demirchian may well boycott PACE sessions as well after discovering a lack of European interest in the Armenian opposition in Strasbourg.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that Minister for Local Government Hovik Abrahamian has confirmed reports that he is working on a doctoral dissertation. But Abrahamian says the dissertation will be not about philosophy, as was claimed by an opposition leader, but irrigation networks and their operations in “emergency situations.” He adds that he will soon finish the research and defend it for a doctoral degree.