Opponents of Robert Kocharian who held senior posts in the previous Armenian leadership continue to assert that he is not interested to see the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict end. In an interview with "Aravot," former foreign minister Vahan Papazian says Kocharian "will do everything…to avoid signing a final document on Karabakh", thus shunning also the responsibility inherent in such an act. But Papazian adds that a further delay in resolving the conflict will put the Armenian side in a more difficult situation.
"Aravot" editorializes that Kocharian will primarily rely on loyal "oligarchs," rather than allied political parties, in his drive to win a second term in office. Parties supporting the president are always prone to "treachery," the paper says. "So he will most probably pin his hopes on the corrupt bureaucracy. After all, it is easier to work with bureaucrats than with the political elite that rose to power in one way or another and is fond of reminding the president of its services, demanding in return ministerial portfolios and a green light in business." But exclusive reliance on the state oligarchy is also fraught with dangers. The pro-presidential parties may well turn their backs on Kocharian and look for another leader.
"Iravunk" likewise believes that Kocharian does not fully trust the pro-presidential parties and is "constantly seeking to create additional support bases composed of oligarchs, apolitical bureaucrats and no less apolitical athletes." The paper says the pro-Kocharian camp will show more cracks ahead of the October local elections. The presidential loyalists can not peacefully divide local government positions. Therefore, the local polls will be "the stormiest" in modern Armenia's history.
A former member of the Armenian Central Election Commission (CEC), Ashot Sarkisian, tells "Haykakan Zhamanak" that the newly formed CEC is "utterly pro-government." Sarkisian says the authorities are laying the groundwork for falsifying the approaching elections. Sarkisian, who is a member of the opposition People's Party (HZhK), also says that HZhK deputies in the parliament will likely quit the Miasnutyun faction.
"Haykakan Zhamanak" reports that state prosecutors, acting on Kocharian's orders, have begun financial inspections in the government's customs department. The customs chief, Armen Avetisian, is currently vacationing in the expensive French resort town of Nice. The paper says National Security Minister Karlos Petrosian and other government members are increasingly pushing for Avetisian's removal. The latter continues to enjoy Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian's backing. But Sarkisian seems to have been "tired" of sponsoring Avetisian following a series of scandals involving the customs chief.
"Haykakan Zhamanak" also reports that Yerevan Mayor Robert Nazarian has been in Germany for the past ten days. His chief of staff claims that the mayor traveled to Germany for a medical check-up. The paper comments sarcastically that Nazarian should have undergone medical examination in one of Yerevan's policlinics where a doctor's one-year salary is worth less than a Yerevan-Frankfurt plane ticket.