(Saturday, April 26)
Several Armenian newspapers carry a statement by former President Levon Ter-Petrosian on opposition leader Raffi Hovannisian’s offer to act as a mediator in his possible “dialogue” with the authorities. “I have officially stated [before] that I consider all four points contained in the March 4 statement by the European Union presidency as the basis for any dialogue with the Armenian authorities,” says Ter-Petrosian. (The EU called for an end to the state of emergency in Yerevan, the restoration of freedom of assembly, the release of political prisoners, and the launch of an independent investigation into the March 1 clashes.) Ter-Petrosian adds that he regards the release of all of his arrested loyalists as a precondition for his direct contacts with the government.
“For the past 13 years our elections have failed,” editorializes “Aravot.” “The authorities resort to repressions and fraud, while those who try to counter these actions end up behind bars for obstructing the course of elections, resisting representatives of power, taking part in mass riots, seizing power and other alleged violations. How is it possible to end this sad tradition? Obviously, fraudsters equipped with administrative and judicial levers can not be talked into being so kind as to organize fair elections. Should force therefore be countered with force and barricades?” That, according to the paper, only heightens the atmosphere of intolerance in the country.
“It is obvious that the presidential elections were used by Ter-Petrosian’s team as a means or a tool for playing a certain scenario for post-election destabilization,” writes “Hayots Ashkhar.” “If Ter-Petrosian had really intended to win the presidential elections, he would have participated in the 2007 distribution of parliament seats, gained seats in election commissions and only then thought about higher goals.”
“What happened in Armenia from September 2007 through February 19 and March 1 was engineered by Robert Kocharian and Serzh Sarkisian,” says “Chorrord Ishkhanutyun.” “And they will be equally held accountable for that.” The opposition paper believes that the use of lethal force against opposition protests could not have taken place without Sarkisian’s knowledge and approval.