(Saturday, March 17)
“Zhoghovurd” reports that President Serzh Sarkisian defended his administration’s decision to turn Armenia into a parliamentary republic when he met with members of the newly established Supreme Judicial Council on Friday. The paper dismisses his claim that the previous, presidential system of government can no longer foster the country’s “development,” saying that neither Sarkisian nor any other government official or pro-government politician has convincingly explained why the parliamentary system is better. “In a country where the government is not legitimate, where there is an atmosphere of impunity and where the constitution is constantly violated … the government system does not make any difference,” it says, adding that the main purpose of the constitutional changes was to enable Sarkisian to extend his rule.
“Zhamanak” says that Sarkisian will technically wield no power at least in the period between his resignation on April 9 and the appointment of Armenia’s next prime minister expected on April 17. “There are more and more statements to the effect that those seven days must be used for effecting regime change,” writes the paper. “Only the government, the ruling majority [in parliament] or the [ruling] establishment could defeat Serzh Sarkisian during that seven-day period. And the establishment would decide to turn on Serzh Sarkisian only in one case: if it concludes that Sarkisian is no longer able to meet its needs and guarantee the security of its assets and physical immunity and that he should be replaced with a new guarantor. The situation now is such that the oligarchy itself is imploring Sarkisian to retain his status as guarantor. Serzh Sarkisian seems to have decided to follow a different path and … create a situation where big business will convince him to stay.”
“Aravot” comments on a senior Turkish diplomat’s reaction to Armenia’s decision to withdraw its signature from the Turkish-Armenian protocols signed in 2009. In particular, Deputy Foreign Minister Ahmet Yildiz said that that Yerevan refused to accept Ankara’s linkage between the protocols’ implementation and a resolution of the Karabakh conflict that would satisfy Azerbaijan. The paper says Yildiz thus confirmed that the Turks never planned to ratify the normalization accords unconditionally.