“Hayots Ashkhar” notes that unlike Armenian opposition parties, the pro-government camp is very diverse and fragmented. Furthermore, differences between political groups supporting the authorities continue to deepen. The paper also deplores a growing divide separating leaders and ordinary members of those parties. “The parties’ highest echelons gravitate towards the authorities, while the rank and file wants to be in opposition.” Therefore the rise in the number of pro-government parties does not broaden the support base of the authorities. In fact, the reverse is true.
The Moscow-based pro-opposition businessman Arkady Vartanian, who left Armenia earlier this year after spending several months in jail, seems to be trying to move back to the limelight. In another article published in “Haykakan Zhamanak,” Vartanian renews attacks on Robert Kocharian and the government. He makes the point that the Kocharian administration is only slightly different from the previous authorities, widely blamed for Armenia’s social and economic woes. Vartanian also urges the opposition to act in a more altruistic fashion. That is, to listen to the people’s demands and not just fight for power.
The semi-presidential system of governance created by Armenia’s post-Soviet constitution has resulted in “the president’s absolute irresponsibility,” according to one of the main authors of the basic law. Lawyer Vladimir Nazarian tells “Haykakan Zhamanak” that under the existing system the parliament either has to “jump into the president’s pocket” or “to get out of the pocket” and provoke a “big punch-up.” Nazarian also dismisses Kocharian’s warnings against the destabilization of the political situation. For the authorities, stability means quiet life and immunity from public discontent, he says.
Anybody attempting to change that political system will face an uphill battle against the entire state apparatus, writes “Azg.” The state bureaucracy has a vested interest in keeping that system unchanged. The paper treats with skepticism government plans for major staff cuts. The already bloated ministry staffs, the main source of corruption in Armenia, will continue to get bigger. One in ten Armenians already works for the government. This, according to “Azg,” is a staggering figure for a country like Armenia.