“Haykakan Zhamanak” looks at Prime Minister Andranik Markarian’s health problems through the prism of the latest political developments in Armenia. The paper sees the premier’s announced departure to Paris for a medical check-up as a prelude to his resignation. The prospect of Markarian’s removal has led some senior members of his Republican Party (HHK) to begin negotiations with the radical opposition on joining its campaign for Kocharian’s impeachment. Sources in the opposition People’s Party say the opposition troika has already collected 35 signatures in the parliament in support of Kocharian’s ouster. They are confident that they will able to secure 44 signatures, the required minimum for forcing an impeachment debate on the parliament floor.
“Iravunk” says the Kocharian administration and the opposition have embarked on a psychological warfare. “Both camps realize that there will be no impeachment and that all of that is just a pre-election propaganda.” Either party tries to force the other into taking “unbalanced steps” that could then be exploited. At the moment “nervous tension” higher in the Kocharian camp, according to the paper. The situation is further complicated by differences emerging inside Markarian’s HHK.
The chairman of the parliament committee on science and education, Shavarsh Kocharian, tells “Aravot” that he sees “serious grounds” to sign up to the opposition’s impeachment petition but is still not sure that President Kocharian’s resignation alone would make things better. The root causes of Armenia’s problems are deeper, according to him. “The society is sick and tired of this. Everybody feels the need for change. And if the October 26 rally [organized by the opposition] is not just directed against the authorities but also contains some constructive ideas it may indeed become a turning point.”
President Eduard Shevardnadze’s visit to Armenia also draws comments. “Haykakan Zhamanak” says the only tangible thing the Georgian-Armenian summit can produce is a “weakening of [bilateral] tensions.” “No turning point is expected,” the paper writes. “A real improvement of relations requires long and serious diplomatic work.”
“Hayots Ashkhar” says Shevardnadze should realize that it is primarily in Georgia’s interests to pursue a “neutral” foreign policy. It could prove to be the only guarantee for the preservation of Georgia’s territorial integrity.
“Yerkir” thinks that Armenia is genuinely interested in Georgia’s stability and makes an upbeat forecast about the future of the Georgian-Armenian relationship. “Neither international provocations nor interested third countries can inject coldness into the relations between Tbilisi and Yerevan. The parties are perfectly aware of the value of their cooperation and will do their best to keep their rapport immune to any outbreaks.”