“Aravot” reports that at least four members of the Armenian parliament are likely to join the cabinet as part of an expected reshuffle in the executive. Most likely is the appointment of Kayunutyun group leader Vartan Ayvazian as minister of environment. The paper at the same time cautions that this is not the first time that rumors about impending ministerial appointments are being circulated in Armenia. Most of them have proved to be false in the past.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” says the resignation of the current minister of environment, Murad Muradian, is by no means a forgone conclusion. Muradian may still muster political support during his forced one-month vacation.
According to “Iravunk,” another cabinet member whose job is in danger, Minister for State Revenues Andranik Manukian, appears to have staved off his dismissal after a meeting with Robert Kocharian on Monday.
“Aravot” says Kocharian is now “intesively” preparing for the presidential elecctions due in 2003. The paper puts his efforts to push through the bills on civil service and public gatherings in that context.
“Iravunk” agrees with this assertion, saying that all draft laws currently discussed at the extraordinary session of the National Assembly are aimed at the “creation and strengthening of Robert Kocharian’s support bases.” Kocharian does not trust any of the major Armenian parties and instead “prefers to have a support base made up of bureaucracy and shadow financial oligarchs.” The papers anticipates that the “most decisive clash” between pro-government and opposition forces will occur this autumn, with the opposition Hanrapetutyun party posing the most serious threat to Kocharian.
It is hardly coincidence that Hanrapetutyun is chosen by “Yerkir” as the main target of its fresh attacks on the opposition. The party led by former prime minister Aram Sarkisian is blamed for trying to team up with such diametrically opposite forces as the former ruling HHSh and Ashot Manucharian’s National Accord Front.
“Hayots Ashkhar” says the new opposition coalition is already taking shape and may threaten political stability in the country. The paper complains that pro-government forces are doing little to counter the perceived threat. The main reason for that is the ambiguous stance of the Republican Party (HHK). Instead of playing a lead role in consolidating the pro-government forces, the Republicans are anxious to preserve their Miasnutyun alliance with the HZhK. If Prime Minister Markarian’s party does not set the record straigtht “others” will take on that role.
But as the Republican daily “Zhamanak” writes, the extent of the recent political tensions has been exaggerated as most opposition groups “are not at all inclined to adventurist steps.” The HZhK, in particular, has so far avoided “sharp confrontation” with the authorities and does not want to break up Miasnutyun. As for Hanrapetutyun’s Sarkisian and Albert Bazeyan, they are “prudent” enough to save the country from new political upheavals.