(Saturday, March 24)
Interviewed by “Haykakan Zhamanak,” opposition leader Nikol Pashinian defends his decision in 2015 not to campaign against President Serzh Sarkisian’s controversial constitutional changes that eventually enabled the latter to prolong his rule. Pashinian insists that now is a better time to fight against Sarkisian’s continued rule. “We are capable of organizing a struggle and creating a platform for the people and winning,” he says. “If there is an expression of popular will, it will be easier to effect regime change under the current constitution than the previous one. Why? Because Serzh Sarkisian will not be president during the political processes envisioned by us.”
“Zhamanak” disagrees with Pashinian’s view that the period between the end of Sarkisian’s presidential term on April 9 and his anticipated appointment as prime minister on April 17 represents a unique opportunity for the Armenian opposition to seize power. The paper believes that Pashinian and his Civil Contract party cannot topple the ruling regime on their own. It says they are extremely unlikely to cobble together a broad-based opposition coalition for that purpose. Armenia needs a smooth and lawful transition of power, rather than revolutionary upheavals, it says.
A German political analyst, Susan Stewart, tells “168 Zham” that she expects only minor “technical” obstacles to the ratification of the European Union’s Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement (CEPA) with Armenia. She also notes that Russia did not react negatively, at least in public, to the signing of the CEPA in November.
“Zhoghovurd” comments on serious problems with the implementation of an ambitious government project to refurbish Armenia’s main highways stretching to the Iranian and Georgian borders. “Right from the beginning it was evident that this project is not cost-effective for Armenia,” writes the paper. “On the contrary, it will mean a waste of financial resources, part of them loans.” It accuses senior government officials of using the project to enrich themselves.