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Press Review


In an interview with "Aravot," a senior member of the former ruling Armenian Pan-National Movement (HHSh), Aram Manukian, relates his impressions about his past work with Robert Kocharian. Manukian remembers Kocharian as a "stubborn" person who was always keen to punish anybody objecting to his decisions. "The rejection of dissent, pluralism and a multi-party system in Armenia became his work style," Manukian says, adding that Kocharian will do everything to "destroy his political opponents" and cling to power.

"Orran" claims that Armenia's "government pyramid is in complete turmoil," with rival factions increasingly fighting each other. Kocharian is trying to redress things with "tough measures that are so indicative of him." "As a result, the government pyramid is melting down. Especially now that the Meghri variant is in circulation, the impeachment process is underway and the superpowers are holding secret negotiations with some Armenian political forces." The president's allies are behaving like they do not object to his exit from power. The paper claims that one of those allies, the Dashnaktsutyun party, is now "extremely disappointed and unhappy with
Kocharian," while Prime Minister Andranik Markarian's Republican Party is "on the brink of a revolt." As for Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian, he might eventually side with former president Levon Ter-Petrosian and his allies.

However, a leading opposition figure, Shavarsh Kocharian, tells "Haykakan Zhamanak" that the opposition should harbor no "illusions" about Sarkisian backing their impeachment drive. He says the pro-presidential forces may be bickering with each other to gain more economic levers but they will undoubtedly rally around the incumbent president in the run-up to the elections.

Meanwhile, "Hayots Ashkhar" quotes Sarkisian as saying that Kocharian is no rush to embark on his reelection campaign and form a "united team." The shorter that campaign, the better for Armenia's economy, he explains. The defense minister also believes that the political situation in Armenia is "on the whole stable." But he admits that the opposition's efforts to "destabilize" the situation are having some negative impact. He says the authorities should react to those efforts in a "stricter" manner.

But as "Iravunk" writes, it is Kocharian who is heightening tensions with his "unbalanced statements." Another "destabilizing factor" is the government's attempt to change the parliament's statutes. "All of this is proof that the president's position has really weakened. He has no options but to quit or maintain his power by resorting to exclusively illegal, forcible steps," the paper says.

(Vache Sarkisian)
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