“Zhamanak” argues that the main intrigue at the September 30 rally will be what new assurances of the ‘situation getting specified’ are provided by leader of the main opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK) Levon Ter-Petrosian.
“The relations between the HAK and the society will largely hinge on how convincing these assurances are. Because if Ter-Petrosian fails to present proof of a genuinely imminent turning point, then a considerable part of the society may as well stop treating seriously any other assurances given by the opposition bloc,” the paper comments.
In an interview with “Haykakan Zhamanak” ruling Republican Party member Rafik Petrosian acknowledges that if the HAK’s September 30 rally attracts a considerably larger number of people, then the authorities will discuss the opposition’s proposals. But he explains: “The authorities will not allow the situation to become tense. As always, the president chooses this way to prevent the situation from escalating, even if problems are to be solved in favor of the opposition, because that would actually be not in favor of the opposition, but in favor of the people and the republic.”
“Aravot” deems the assessment made of Armenian democracy by former United States ambassador John Evans fair, but still raises some questions in this regard. At a panel discussion in Yerevan on Thursday Evans, in particular, gave Armenia as a democracy only 2.6 points on a 10-point scale. He cited the “good governance” criteria set to Armenia by the U.S. government’s Millennium Challenge Account program.
The paper editorializes: “No doubt, the mark is objective and reflects the situation that was created because of the 2008 post-election killings and unprecedented political reprisals afterwards. But some questions still arise… Can it be said that in 2006 when this program was approved the democratic situation was more satisfactory than in 2009 when the program was partly suspended? The 2003 elections and the 2005 referendum were just as disgraceful as the 2008 polls… So, while the American estimations are fair, they are still a bit superficial.”
“Chorrord Inknishkhanutyun” comments on the draft budget for next year that foresees an essential growth of revenues. It speculates that a political decision has been made to increase the budget by collecting money from oligarchs. “It means that the country’s political figures have decided to tax a sizable amount of illicit operations of their associates and oblige them to work in accordance with the new rules of the game. This, naturally, creates a new situation for the oligarchs and during an election year this new situation may pose certain risks for the authorities themselves in the first place, because oligarchs will also be obliged to cover the electoral expenses by distributing money among the population to secure the required number of votes for the authorities.”