(Saturday, March 5)
“Yerkir” analyzes the 13-point ultimatum issued by the opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK) to the authorities. The paper says that some of the opposition demands, including the holding of snap elections and resignation of Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian and other top state officials, are quite “radical.” “But most of the demands stem from the existing socioeconomic situation, [Armenia’s] obligations to the Council of Europe, and despite being populist, they leave the authorities with some room for action,” says the paper. “With this dual effect, the Congress is trying to leave the authorities with a dilemma that will lead them into a trap in any case.”
“Hayots Ashkhar” singles out the HAK demand for the payment of massive financial compensations to the families of people killed and injured on March 1, 2008. The paper quotes Artak Davtian, a parliament deputy from the ruling Republican Party (HHK), as accusing the HAK of “fanning and exploiting people’s grief and turning it into a political tool.” “Unfortunately … the HAK and its leader continue to propagate hatred animosity [towards the government] in an attempt to raise the spirits of the revolutionary masses,” says Davtian.
“The authorities are undoubtedly very weakened,” Ashot Manucharian, a veteran opposition politician, tells “Zhamanak.” “Today’s authorities are not the authorities of March 1. They are significantly weaker, and one can even rule out the use of such force [against the opposition] by the authorities. But one must also take into account the fact that within the government there is a praetorian guard, loyal groups and individuals that are ready to defend the authorities tooth and nail. I think that even the craziest ruler realizes that any use of force against a political force such as the Armenian National Congress would be perceived as a blow to the people.”
“Chorrord Inknishkhanutyun” defends U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch’s public calls for Armenia’s democratization. The opposition daily says there is nothing wrong with a foreign diplomat calling for democratic change in Armenia because its leadership has no problem with turning the country into a Russian “outpost.”
Zaruhi Postanjian, a senior member of the opposition Zharangutyun (Heritage) party, tells “Haykakan Zhamanak” that she is against a consolidation of Armenian opposition groups in the form of “artificial alliances.” Postanjian says opposition leaders should first work out a “joint plan of actions.” “Later on, when we have a clear-cut plan of actions, I think we would be able to have more productive cooperation on other issues,” she says. Postanjian also claims that the Armenian government has given the public “no alternative to carrying out a revolution.”