(Saturday, August 6)
Parliament speaker Galust Sahakian tells “Haykakan Zhamanak” that President Serzh Sarkisian and his Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) plan to form a “government of national accord” after parliamentary elections due in 2017. “We think that it will be a coalition government comprising different political forces,” he says. The paper counters that Armenia has already had several coalition governments in the past decade and none of them was regarded as an embodiment of national accord.
“Armenia’s government looks like a paralyzed system,” 1in.am writes in a commentary on the two-week standoff that followed the July 17 seizure by radical opposition gunmen of a police station in Yerevan’s southern Erebuni district. The online publication says that in response to that crisis the Armenian authorities have done nothing except a tough crackdown on the gunmen and their supporters launched by Armenian law-enforcement authorities. It says they could have tried to appease the disgruntled public by “taking steps on the social and economic plane.” “Perhaps the authorities think that there is no need for that and the oligarchs are enjoying their summer holidays and are not willing to change ways, thinking that use of police force is enough to keep the situation under control.”
Commenting on the Erebuni standoff, “Aravot” recalls a violent opposition protest in Yerevan that was sparked by the alleged rigging of an Armenian presidential election held in September 1996. Thousands of protesters burst into the parliament building in Yerevan at the time, beating up the then parliament speaker and one of his deputies. “The opposition has still not condemned the attack on the National Assembly and its leadership,” editorializes the paper. “The authorities have still not condemned the use of excessive force against protesters.” It says that this fact lies at the root of Armenia’s chronic political problems. “If you condemn abuses committed by police and plainclothes officers, then you must admit that the seizure of the Erebuni police regiment and other actions connected with it were also a blatant violation of the law, as were attempts by some protesters to break thorough the police cordon and join the gunmen,” it says. The truth cannot be “one-sided,” concludes the paper.