“Zhamanak” says that the anti-government “civil disobedience” campaign of the New Armenia opposition alliance did not get off to a bad start on Tuesday. “The clash with riot police was probably an act of mutual reconnaissance,” speculates the paper. “The authorities and New Armenia tried to test each other’s strengths and weaknesses. In this sense, the parties clearly adopted a tactic of prolonged confrontation.”
“Hayots Ashkhar” is unimpressed with the New Armenia leaders’ speeches delivered at Tuesday’s rally in Yerevan’s Liberty Square. “If one is to believe them, everything is illegal in Armenia,” writes the pro-government paper. “The constitutional referendum is illegal. The draft [constitutional] amendments are illegal … and only they are legal.”
“Hraparak” says that one of the main arguments of the constitutional reform proponents is that presidential elections in Armenia have always been followed by unrest and that they would no longer be held under a parliamentary system of government. The paper finds this argument unconvincing. “When people are unhappy with their lives that disaffection develops into a strong protest against the government during [presidential] elections,” it says. “If the presidential elections are abolished people will find other occasions to voice protests, take to the streets and fight tooth and nail. Yesterday’s protests [in Yerevan] were a vivid example of that.”
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” says that with only four days to go before the constitutional referendum Sarkisian and his political allies have still not clearly explained why Armenia should be turned into a parliamentary republic. The paper says that as their low-key gatherings with voters across the country have showed, Armenians are preoccupied with other, more pressing issues.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” says Russian economic sanctions against Turkey are “creating theoretical opportunities” for a rise in Armenian food exports to Russia. “In theory, this is a positive development for our economy,” writes the paper. “But in practice, our manufacturers are more likely to suffer losses.” It claims that because of the Russian ban more Turkish agricultural products may now enter the South Caucasus and Armenia in particular. Armenian manufacturers could struggle to compete with them due to their lower cost, it says.