(Saturday, November 14)
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” reports that Levon Martirosian, a parliament deputy from the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK), has come under fire from other government loyalists after stating that the Armenian side is ready, in principle, to withdraw from districts around Nagorno-Karabakh as part of a possible peace deal with Azerbaijan. A spokesman for Bako Sahakian, the Karabakh president, has condemned Martirosian in particularly strong terms. “Actually Levon Martirosian did not say anything extraordinary,” comments the paper. “Furthermore, he was sure that his statement did not cause any angry reactions because he simply said something which everyone knows.”
“After all, Serzh Sarkisian himself has talked about that on a number of occasions,” argues the pro-opposition paper. “After all, the Madrid Principles of a Karabakh settlement have long been made public. So [Martirosian] definitely did not expect such unserious reactions.”
“168 Zham” notes that in their push for constitutional changes drafted by President Serzh Sarkisian the Armenian authorities are advancing the argument that “regime change” will be easier if Armenia becomes a parliamentary republic. “Davit Harutiunian, the chief of the government staff and a member of the ‘Yes’ campaign headquarters, has talked about that more than anybody else,” writes the paper. “The ‘No’ campaign says that it intends to turn the [December 6] constitutional referendum into a vote of no confidence in the authorities so that would lead to Serzh Sarkisian’s resignation. No matter how realistic or unrealistic that [opposition objective] objective is, it is making the authorities nervous, and the authorities are subconsciously fighting against it. Their notion about a ‘peaceful regime change’ should be considered a manifestation of that fight … As much as it is tempting [for opposition supporters,] this notion shows that a peaceful regime is not possible in Armenia and that the authorities will get their desired percentages regardless of election results.”
“Zhamanak” reports on the failure by the opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK) and Zharangutyun parties to name their representatives in all of Armenia’s 2,000 or so precinct election commissions that will handle the upcoming referendum. The HAK and Zharangutyun have said that they did not manage to fill their commission slots because the authorities are intimidating or bribing their supporters. “The reality is much more complex,” says the paper. “The authorities have certainly created an environment in which it is hard to find 2,000 people ready to fight for the opposition interests in the commissions.” But this cannot serve as a justification for the opposition, it says.