"Iravunk" makes another attempt to calculate how much resources Robert Kocharian needs to win next year's elections. His "number one support base" is Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian. But Sarkisian alone will not be able to ensure Kocharian's reelection. The president will have to rely on either Dashnaktsutyun or the Republican Party. The latter's leader, Prime Minister Andranik Markarian, has amassed "huge pre-election resources" and could hold the key to the president's victory.
"Aravot" claims that all pro-government forces in Armenia "belong to the nationalist and socialist camp." The liberal opposition may take advantage of that and try to win over people who "own something." "That stratum is now small but active because it has something to lose. Those people demand from the state uniform and clear rules of the game rather than care and sponsorship."
"Golos Armenii" looks at such prospect with alarm. "The HHSh is returning because judicial bodies and the public lacked the will to condemn crimes committed by the former party of power," the Russian-language paper writes.
"Haykakan Zhamanak" says that back in 1995 one of the powerful figures who forced Levon Ter-Petrosian to resign in 1998 was urging then interior minister Vano Siradeghian to "send the president of the republic abroad for several months of vacation." The report is signed by Avetis Harutiunian, Siradeghian's widely known pseudonym. The author says the offer came in the run-up to the 1995 parliamentary elections in which the HHSh was expected to prevail. The so-called power ministers, the author continues, were worried that a strong and consolidated parliament could diminish their political clout.
But one of Ter-Petrosian's former comrades-in-arms, Rafael Ghazarian, writes in "Hayots Ashkhar" that the 1998 change of government must not be considered a coup d'etat. The real coup, Ghazarian says, occurred in September 1996 when Ter-Petrosian and his henchmen rigged the presidential elections won by the opposition candidate. According to Ghazarian, Ter-Petrosian's feelings about the future of the people "vary from indifference to disdain."
"Azg" reports that the government's revenue collection was poor in the first two months of the year. The government is again beginning to have trouble paying salaries and pensions on time.
"Haykakan Zhamanak" claims that following a series of takeovers late last year and early this year "the governing clans" have gotten hold of Armenia's largest banks: Savings Bank, Agrobank and Ardshinbank. At first glance this is "illogical" because the ruling circles should presumably keep their money out of the country's shaky banking system. But these banks have the largest network of branches scattered all over the country. This, according to the paper, will give the authorities a key advantage in the next elections, allowing them to quickly distribute funds used for buying votes.