(Saturday, March 31)
“Chorrord Inknishkhanutyun” discusses former President Levon Ter-Petrosian’s speech at the latest rally held in Yerevan by his Armenian National Congress (HAK). The pro-HAK daily says Ter-Petrosian brilliantly described the “disastrous” situation in Armenia with factual information about increased crime, poverty and public debt. It says this data is further proof of the Armenian authorities’ “criminal activities.”
Predictably, “Hayots Ashkhar” has a totally different take on the HAK rally and Ter-Petrosian’s speech. The pro-government paper dismisses the HAK’s election campaign manifesto laid out by Ter-Petrosian, calling it a collection of long-standing HAK demands and ultimatums to the authorities. It is particularly critical of the opposition bloc’s pledges to try to impeach and prosecute President Serzh Sarkisian in case of winning the May 6 parliamentary elections.
“168 Zham” backs Ter-Petrosian’s mockery of “change” promised by Sarkisian and the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK). But, it says, the HAK also does not enjoy a sufficient degree of public trust. “Has the HAK been honest with regard to the society?” asks the paper. “Has it delivered on its promises and accomplished the mission for which tens of thousands of citizens took to the streets?” The paper says the Armenian public has reason not to trust in Ter-Petrosian’s pledges to topple the current president because the HAK stopped campaigning for regime change and engaged in a dialogue with the government last summer. “168 Zham” at the same time suggests that Ter-Petrosian might have sent a message not to ordinary Armenians but other political forces and Gagik Tsarukian’s Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) in particular.
Ruben Mehrabian, a political analyst critical of the government, tells “Yerkir” that the upcoming parliamentary elections will hardly see blatant falsifications. “When looking at the electoral process, we should evaluate not only voting but [the process] as a whole,” explains Mehrabian. “True, many things are not done in a crude fashion this time around, unlike in 2007 and before. But this doesn’t carry elements of systemic change. Because of the authorities we see the same individuals who are reputed to be election falsifiers, who were embroiled in various scandalous situations.”
“Zhamanak” makes comparisons between Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian and his late predecessor Andranik Markarian. “Just like Andranik Markarian, Tigran Sarkisian owes his appointment [as prime minister] to a political crisis,” writes the paper. “But while Markarian stayed on [as prime minister] because the crisis was overcome, Tigran Sarkisian is staying put because the [current] crisis is not being overcome. The reason for this is that Markarian was a political figure, unlike Tigran Sarkisian.”