"Haykakan Zhamanak" says factions representing the Armenian parliamentary majority did not disguise on Friday their glee over the failure of the opposition bid to impeach Robert Kocharian. The pro-government majority now views the opposition as a "miserable reality." The pro-opposition paper is particularly outraged by the Communist Party's refusal to back impeachment proceedings against the president.
"Hayots Ashkhar" says the Communist leadership is divided over the issue. The dominant faction inside the party is against further confrontation with the authorities and is prepared to conduct more "purges" to impose its will.
"Iravunk" claims that "public hatred toward the current authorities is extremely strong and tens of thousands of people will take to the streets as soon as the opposition gives the name of its single presidential candidate." Everybody is now speculating about who might be that candidate. "At present most attention is paid to Vazgen Manukian," the paper says, arguing that the latter has a reputation of a pro-Western politician. This fact is particularly important now that "Armenia is deepening its tilt toward the
Robert Kocharian too is preparing for his election campaign. An alliance between the Republican Party and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) would certainly boost his reelection chances, according to "Iravunk." Its creation will become much easier if Kocharian "decides to preserve Andranik Markarian's prime ministership, at the same time appointing more Dashnaktsutyun members to the government at the expense of non-Republican ministers." But the paper says Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian and Nagorno-Karabakh President Arkady Ghukasian are both opposed to "the emergence of new Dashnak ministers." "That Dashnaktsutyun was given some promises is evident from the Dashnak deputies' unwavering support for, to put it mildly, unpopular legislative initiatives that will not earn them more votes."
Dashnaktsutyun's weekly newspaper "Yerkir" says the Republican Party is now undergoing a major transformation. The governing party, it says, is increasingly dominated by senior government officials and civil servants rather than "ideological persons." That is translating into growing Republican calls for increasing the number of parliament seats distributed in single-mandate constituencies.
In another commentary, "Yerkir" deplores the fact that government connections continue to be essential for doing business in Armenia. The authorities have created a "market of privileges" that are given only to the most loyal entrepreneurs. This is the main cause of the "unprecedented high level of corruption" in Armenia, according to the paper.