“Even though at this point Iran is interested in political stability in Armenia and objectively stands by Robert Kocharian, that big country at the same time seeks to have practical relationships with those political forces that do not associate themselves with Kocharian but are gifted with considerable potential,” “Iravunk” writes, commenting on Iranian President Mohammad Khatami’s visit to Armenia.
“Iravunk” also believes that the “passive” stance of the Armenian opposition is spreading discord inside the government camp. “But if the opposition resumes the revolutionary type of actions then the government camp will again close ranks,” it says. The paper says Kocharian and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) no longer differ in their positions on the future of the ruling three-party coalition of which Dashnaktsutyun is a member. They are both ready to “contribute to the collapse or maximum weakening of the coalition.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” says the existing cracks inside the coalition could deepen as a result of the repeat parliamentary by-election in the central Kotayk region and the issue of compensating the holders of Soviet-era bank deposits. The finance and economics committee of the Armenian parliament is due to discuss a draft law on the issue put forward by speaker Artur Baghdasarian’s Orinats Yerkir Party. If the committee controlled by the Republican Party rejects the bill it will deal a serious blow to Orinats Yerkir’s image.
Interviewed by “Aravot,” opposition leader Vazgen Manukian says the government infighting will not change the essence of the ruling regime. “In case the situation remains unchanged no opposition will come to power,” he says. “Either the government itself will pick a successor from its ranks or Robert Kocharian will stay on.”
“The political resources of a large part of the social elite that has grown rich by illegal means exceed their moral and intellectual capabilities,” writes “Yerkir.” What keeps them loyal to the government is opportunism, not ideological or moral considerations. “And every time the government’s foundations are shaken they look for a new political cover,” says Dashnaktsutyun’s weekly.
In a commentary on the third anniversary of the September 11 terror attacks, “Hayots Ashkhar” slams the U.S. government’s international response to the deaths of thousands of its citizens. The paper says that the Bush administration’s aggressive military interventions abroad have only deepened “chaos” around the world.
“I am against sending any people from Armenia to Iraq,” Vazgen Manukian tells “Aravot” in this regard. “Of course, we must fight terrorism, help neighboring peoples. But I believe that [by sending troops to Iraq] we are putting our people at great risk without bringing much benefit to the worldwide common struggle. After all, unlike the Georgians and the Azerbaijanis, we have numerous compatriots in Iraq and other Arab countries alike.”