(Saturday, May 21)
“Hayots Ashkhar” quotes the spokesman for the ruling Republican Party (HHK), Eduard Sharmazanov, as saying that President Serzh Sarkisian’s decision to initiate another general amnesty testifies to his statesmanlike thinking and approaches. “In a region full of challenges, we are obliged to be to united and tolerant,” says Sharmazanov. “May 28 (a public holiday in Armenia) is one of the best occasions for spreading such atmosphere.”
While praising the initiative, “Yerkir” wonders why the authorities and the radical opposition led by Levon Ter-Petrosian did not reach common ground before the March 2008 bloody clashes in Yerevan. “Why have they brought the country to this state through mutual impudence and are only now trying to restore what they jointly destroyed?” writes the paper. “It is evident that the announcement of the amnesty is the consequence of the [opposition] radicals’ blackmail.” It says the authorities should also explain a discrepancy between their current and past evaluations of the opposition actions in March 2008.
“Our struggle will not be confined to the liberation of all political prisoners,” Vartan Harutiunian, an opposition-linked human rights activist, tells “Kapital.” He says the Armenian government should also declare these individuals innocent, apologize to them and compensate them for their losses.
Lyudmila Sargsian, a senior member of Ter-Petrosian’s Armenian National Congress (HAK), assures “Zhamanak” that former President Robert Kocharian is now “in panic” as evidenced by his latest public statement. “His psychological condition prevented him from thinking deeper before sending messages to Serzh Sarkisian,” she says. She claims Kocharian implied that President Serzh Sarkisian can not hold him solely responsible for the March 2008 bloodshed. “Everyone in the government system is trying to cleanse themselves of March 1. But that will definitely not work,” she says.
“Chorrord Inknishkhanutyun” says that despite recent interesting developments the government and the HAK are still far from starting a dialogue. “At least, the parties have diametrically opposite positions at this point,” writes the opposition daily. “The authorities insist that pre-term elections are out of question, while the Congress says that it is ready to negotiate only on that issue.” One possible compromise solution is a government pledge to ensure that the next elections are free and fair. But that is very unlikely to happen, according to the paper.