“Hayots Ashkhar” says Armenia should try to capitalize on growing debate in the Europe Union on whether or not to admit Turkey into the bloc. The paper says Yerevan can get the EU to make improved relations with Armenia and a recognition of the Armenian Genocide another condition for Turkey’s entry. “President Kocharian’s speech in Strasbourg has created a positive backdrop for the inclusion of the Armenian package in the discussions on Turkey’s membership of the EU.”
In an interview with “Haykakan Zhamanak,” opposition leader Artashes Geghamian rejects claims by parliament vice-speaker Tigran Torosian that he and the other opposition member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Shavarsh Kocharian, showed “disrespect” for Armenia in Strasbourg. “If we do not attend the inauguration of the illegitimate president in Armenia and any event related to him, why should we be present at his speech in another country?” Geghamian asks. “Geographical position does not change legitimacy.”
“Iravunk” continues to highlight perceived disagreements inside the government camp over who should succeed Robert Kocharian in 2008. “There is growing speculation in the government corridors that Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian could become prime minister,” the paper says. “Of course, such a change in the government would give Kocharian the option of quitting safely and bequeathing power to a reliable person in the event of heightening international pressure over the Karabakh issue. But Orinats Yerkir and especially Dashnaktsutyun will hardly easily come to terms with such a prospect.” This might prompt the two parties to rally around Prime Minister Andranik Markarian and his Republican Party, putting aside their lingering differences. This could in turn lead a “totally new government configuration” by next fall.
“Aravot” reports that Kocharian’s oversight service has found “blatant violations” in the work of the State Pension and Social Insurance Fund after a nearly one-year inspection. Some officials have already called for the sacking of the fund director Frunze Musheghian. “For the first time in several years payment of pensions is being delayed,” the paper says. “The pensions for May have still not been paid. June is already coming to an end, and there is no hope whatsoever that the fund employees will the deadline. So a wave of discontent is imminent.”