(Saturday, January 20)
Political analyst Alexander Iskandarian tells “Haykakan Zhamanak” that the nomination of former Prime Minister Armen Sarkissian for the post of Armenia’s president should go down well with most Armenians not least because he is widely regarded as an outsider. Iskandarian also says that the continuing uncertainty about who will be Armenia’s prime minister after April 9 is natural. “If [the prime minister’s] name is announced now that person will simply be ‘savaged’ before April,” he says. “They would start circulating compromising information and launch smear campaigns. Serzh Sarkisian will therefore keep up the suspense almost until the last minute.”
“Zhamanak” describes the choice of Armen Sarkissian as “yet another artificial life support for the authorities.” “The nomination of Armen Sarkissian’s candidacy suggests that Serzh Sarkisian has no real desire to reform the system and once again connects it to artificial life support,” writes the paper. It argues that for the first time ever a president of Armenia has been “effectively appointed by one man.” The paper is also confident that parliament deputies from the Tsarukian Bloc will also vote for Sarkissian despite its nominally opposition status and frequent criticism of the government’s economic policies.
“Aravot” carries an editorial on Friday’s demonstration in Yerevan against recent price rises which was organized by the opposition Yelk alliance. “If hundreds of thousands of people are unhappy [with the government] why don’t they take to the streets when a political group stages a protest against price hikes?” asks the paper. “The easiest thing to do is to accuse that political group, Yelk, of being not popular or sincere enough. But such accusations are usually made by the authorities or those oppositionists who are definitely less popular and, more importantly, less sincere than Yelk.” The paper believes that Armenians’ lack of civic consciousness is a more important reason for the relatively poor turnout at the Yelk rally.