“Aravot” continues to voice skepticism at the success of Armenia’s first-ever coalition government, saying that neither Dashnaktsutyun nor Orinats Yerkir are able to carry out “the promised revolution” with their ministerial portfolios. For the main levers relating to economic development are in the hands of the Republican Party. During the election campaign the latter openly accused the two pro-Kocharian parties of populism. The Republicans, the paper says, will not allow Orinats Yerkir to deliver on its promise to restore some of Armenian citizens’ Soviet-era savings wiped out by the hyper-inflation of the early 1990s.
According to “Haykakan Zhamanak,” Prime Minister Andranik Markarian has lost much of his influence with the formation of the new government. “He has found himself in the position of a hostage prime minister,” the paper claims. It says President Kocharian did not allow the Republicans to rule the country single-handedly, and Markarian simply did not dare to cross swords with Kocharian. “The Republicans felt that they could lose everything and had to make big concessions. After all, the government would have to present its program of actions to the National Assembly, and it would be extremely risky to approach the parliament with a government composition that does not satisfy the leadership of the parliament. A leadership that enjoys Robert Kocharian’s overt support.”
“The prime minister has now only two loyal people in the government,” continues “Haykakan Zhamanak.” Those are Finance and Economy Minister Vartan Khachatrian and Manuk Topuzian, a minister without portfolio who heads Markarian’s staff. The paper says it will prevent Markarian from pushing major decisions through the cabinet “in crisis situations.”
“Robert Kocharian, who usurped power on February 19, has tried to disguise his own sins with an illegitimate National Assembly,” opposition leader Artashes Geghamian tells “Ayb-Fe.” Geghamian says it is “naïve” to see any differences between Kocharian and Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian. “They are the same persons. They pursue the same goals. Namely, to keep power at any price,” he says. Geghamian speculates that international mediators might soon force Kocharian to sign an unpopular deal on Nagorno-Karabakh and that he might resign as a result. In that case, he says, power would effectively be transferred to Sarkisian.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that the first secretary of the Armenian Communist Party (HKK), Vladimir Darpinian, stepped down at a meeting of its Central Committee on Friday. “Thus, the Communist Party has turned yet another and disgraceful page of its history,” the pro-Western paper declares gleefully. “Under Vladimir Darpinian this party lost everything and does not participate in Armenia’s governance in any way for the first time in the last 80 years.”