(Saturday, March 27)
“Aravot” says the holding of fresh presidential and parliamentary elections has always been the main demand of opposition groups in Armenia. “The opposition was and is right to say that only a legitimate government can get the country out of crisis,” editorializes the paper. “One just has to take into account the fact that there is no mechanism for forming such a government in Armenia. But a resignation of the president or dissolution of the parliament under pressure from the revolutionary masses is unlikely. A conspiracy, a palace coup, successful examples of which we have, is a more effective mechanism. That is the most undesirable form of regime change because the success of conspirators disappoints the society and contributes to the spread of nihilism and cynicism.”
“Aravot” goes on to claim that former President Robert Kocharian now seems intent on “precipitating a new conspiracy.” “The opposition should naturally be against that because neither the opposition, nor the country would benefit from that,” it concludes.
Armen Rustamian, a leader of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun), assures “168 Zham” that when his party criticizes the government it means President Serzh Sarkisian as well. He says power in Armenia is highly centralized at the moment and “there is no separation of government branches.” “We have long said that politics and business have grown intertwined, but we are now in an even worse situation,” claims Rustamian. “From the state-government fusion we are switching to a state-party fusion.” The paper counters that the situation was the same under Kocharian, when Dashnaktsutyun was in government, and that the party did not speak out against that then. “True, all these problems did exist at the time,” replies Rustamian. “But there was also some tendency to solve these problems. Now it’s not clear what direction this government has opted for.”
Rustamian also believes that the authorities need to take unspecified “drastic political measures” if they are to overcome consequences of the 2008 post-election unrest. “As long as we don’t do that, the page won’t be turned,” he says.
Khosrov Harutiunian, a pro-government politician and former prime minister, tells “Hayots Ashkhar” that Turkey has been more interested in the very process of rapprochement with Armenia, whereas the latter is primarily concerned with its positive outcome. Harutiunian notes with disappointment that for either party the key question now is to make sure that it is not blamed for the collapse of the process, rather than to bring it to a successful fruition.
“Azg” warns that the public uproar over the planned construction of a new church in place of an open-air concert hall in downtown Yerevan is threatening to open a rift between the public and the Armenian Apostolic Church. The paper says even the most ardent followers of the church are upset with the “aggressive” posture of some clerics in the intensifying controversy.