“Hayots Ashkhar” writes that the main challenges to face President Robert Kocharian and his political allies in 2004 are in the international arena rather than domestic politics. Their positions at home will depend on their ability to deal with “complicated external issues.” “The international political situation in which Armenia has found itself will further increase the direct and indirect impact of external challenges on the political behavior of the authorities and forces supporting them,” the paper says, singling out the unresolved Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
The most important thing for the country, according to “Hayots Ashkhar,” is not to lose in the “economic competition” with Azerbaijan. “Domestic political stability greatly depends on that because only rapid economic development would allow the implementation of an effective social policy,” the paper says. As for the Armenia opposition, it will become even weaker this year if it fails to complement its tough anti-Kocharian discourse with constructive ideas. “The opposition needs a new leader.”
As if to substantiate that point, a parliament deputy from the opposition Artarutyun bloc, Hrant Khachatrian, tells “Hayots Ashkhar” that the opposition does need “new ideas, new tactics.” “This doesn’t mean that there are no such ideas in the Artarutyun alliance at the moment,” he adds. “There is a need for changing and expanding our organizational and propaganda work.” Khachatrian says the government camp will also have to rethink its political strategy if it is to “move forward.”
“First of all, one must have a government that enjoys popular trust and therefore has the moral right and power to address Armenia’s difficult problems,” another Artarutyun lawmaker, Grigor Harutiunian, tells “Aravot.” Harutiunian says what the authorities did in 2003 reinforced the public perception that “it makes no sense to live in such a country.”