“Aravot” jokes that had it not been for the state-controlled press nobody would have noticed that May 13 is the second anniversary of Andranik Markarian’s appointment as prime minister. “We have at last found out from the official media what the prime minister has been up to. It turns out he has worked hard, said an [important] thing every month, but we didn’t know that.”
The weekly “Zhamanak,” which is controlled by Markarian’s Republican Party, credits the current prime minister with putting an end to a bitter infighting that paralyzed the Armenian government in the months that followed the October 1999 attack on the parliament. The paper holds Markarian’s predecessor, Aram Sarkisian, responsible for “the atmosphere of distrust and hostility” that existed inside the Armenian leadership at the time. Markarian, it says, realized that it is impossible to lead the nation with “militant hostility and blind hatred” towards President Robert Kocharian.
“Zhamanak” also quotes Markarian as saying that the opposition wants to turn him against Kocharian. He says the opposition is deliberately concentrating its attacks on Kocharian and avoiding harsh criticism of the government. That is being done “in the hope of winning over me,” he says. The premier also accuses the opposition of trying to “drive a wedge” between the powerful Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian and Kocharian.
“Iravunk” writes that as the opposition toughens its anti-presidential rhetoric there are growing signs of new cracks emerging in the government camp. The paper sees a renewed possibility of Markarian’s resignation. The latter, it says, is therefore bound to take some precautions to guarantee his political survival. Kocharian has to “either give the prime minister firm guarantees or take drastic steps.” “Armenia’s domestic political uncertainty is nearing its climax. A solution to that uncertainty should loom early this summer,” “Iravunk” concludes.
“Hayots Ashkhar” is concerned that the upcoming second Armenia-Diaspora conference may not live up to the expectations of Armenians throughout the world. The first such gathering held in 1999 proved to be a waste of time. The key question remains unresolved: “What could and can the Diaspora give independent Armenia, and what can independent Armenia give the Diaspora?” “Both sides should at last come up with realistic and clear programs based on the creation of a mutually beneficial economic environment,” the paper says.
A prominent member of the Dashnaktsutyun party writes in “Yerkir” that the Diaspora needs to have a “general leadership” in order to be able to realize its potential. “If there is no pan-Diaspora leadership, then there is no pan-Diaspora strategy,” Eduard Hovannisian says.