“Zhoghovurd” scoffs at “pathetic” statements by President Serzh Sarkisian and other Armenian officials promising major reforms, a crackdown on corruption and greater protection of human rights. The paper says that such promises have little to do with reality. It says the criminal investigation into last May’s explosion of thousands of balloons at a Sarkisian campaign rally in Yerevan is a case in point. The authorities have prosecuted only one person in connection with that incident: an unemployed man suffering from cancer.
“Hraparak” expects to see “the saddest presidential elections in Armenia’s history” next February. The paper says that the absence of a strong opposition candidate in the presidential race will mean that Armenia’s electoral system has been destroyed and its society “has given up without a fight.” “A president elected in such circumstances will have nothing to be proud of, even if he gets 99 percent of the vote,” it says.
Armen Rustamian, a leader of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun), tells “Haykakan Zhamanak” that his opposition party is seeking to change the country’s political system and not just the people governing it. He says that Dashnaktsutyun supports in principle the formation of a broad-based opposition electoral alliance provided that is based on “concrete programs.” That should include Armenia’s transformation into a parliamentary republic, he says.
“Zhamanak” comments on the newly reaffirmed readiness of the opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK) to cooperate with Gagik Tsarukian’s Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) in the presidential election campaign. The paper says this means that the HAK is also prepared to make deals with its nemesis, former President Robert Kocharian. It says that the opposition bloc led by Levon Ter-Petrosian is already “legitimizing” Kocharian’s allegedly huge fortune. It points to HAK coordinator Levon Zurabian’s Tuesday remark that President Sarkisian will seek to confiscate Tsarukian’s and Kocharian’s assets if he wins reelection.