Armenian newspapers continue to make skeptical forecasts about the longevity of the three-party governing coalition, saying that differences between its members will eventually cause it to collapse.
“A coalition where everyone is supposed to be against everyone else,” comments “Iravunk.” “Intrigues and muffled confrontations inside the coalition continue. Those differences inside the coalition will implode on one nice day.” The paper says this situation benefits President Robert Kocharian as he now has a government which no pro-presidential faction can dominate. Kocharian who can prolong or put an end to its existence practically at will. The summer period, according to “Iravunk,” will be full of intrigues that will further strengthen Kocharian vis-à-vis Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian.
“Ayb-Fe” believes that the latest developments give a stronger hand to Prime Minister Andranik Markarian. The paper argues that Markarian can now blame any policy failure on the current coalition and its main mastermind: Kocharian. Especially if the coalition fails to ensure the kind of economic growth (12 percent) which Armenia registered last year. The paper notes at the same time that all three coalition parties are good at “forging figures” and “by the end of the year they will present us with a [growth] figure that will be much higher than 12 [percent].”
A prominent pro-Kocharian intellectual, Henrik Hovannisian, tells “Hayots Ashkhar” that the newly appointed ministers of culture and education are highly incompetent. “Mediocrities” have always held high-ranking posts in Armenia, he says. “But what we have now is not mediocrities. It’s something different…What is happening is a disaster befalling our people. We will feel its consequences soon.”
But as “Golos Armenii” writes, non-partisan officials are “not good either,” citing the example of Yerevan’s government-appointed mayor, Robert Nazarian. The paper says not only has he failed to put the brakes on corrupt practices in the Yerevan municipality but “has developed them so much that cynicism and immorality with regard to Yerevan have become widespread.” “Nazarian has not even attempted to resolve the problems,” the pro-presidential paper says. “All of his decisions are against the average Yerevan resident and in favor of plunderers who have tons of money.”
“Aravot” sees a close connection between “glorifying Kocharian” and becoming a minister in Armenia. The paper says it makes nonsense of assurances that ministerial posts are now purely political ones. Younger Armenians must have already realized how to make a career in government.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that Artashes Geghamian’s National Unity Party will put a motion in the parliament this September to hold a “referendum of confidence” in Kocharian. “Kocharian claims that 700,000 people gave him a vote of confidence,” says the party’s deputy chairman, Aleksan Karapetian. “We announce that we will collect more than a million signatures. That is, as many signatures as the number of voters in Armenia. A question will then arise: with whose vote did Kocharian get elected?”