Interviewed by “Azg,” Minister for Local Government Hovik Abrahamian elaborates on his Monday remark that if President Robert Kocharian offers him to become prime minister he will consider accepting the offer. “There was a provocative question [from a journalist],” he says. “I was asked if it is true that the prime minister is to be fired due to his health condition and I will be appointed in his place. I said that there has been no such thing. The president has not offered me anything.” Prime Minister Andranik Markarian’s positions are “as strong as never before,” he says. “My relationship with the prime minister is warm and very businesslike.”
The rumors about Markarian’s imminent resignation are also refuted by the parliamentary leader of his Republican Party. Galust Sahakian tells “Hayots Ashkhar” that it could only be the result of new elections. Sahakian says those rumors were spread by the Armenian opposition and “one government wing, a party.” He does not specify which governing party is seeking to undercut the premier.
In an interview with "Haykakan Zhamanak," a leader of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun), expresses concern at Armenia’s “diversion from the democratization process.” “That diversion has meant that in lieu of democracy, a plutocracy, the power of money, is taking hold in the country with all of its negative manifestations,” he says. “The plutocracy has penetrated both the political and economic spheres … Being rich is not a bad thing. But if they try to buy power with money that puts democracy in danger.” Rustamian points to last year’s by-election to parliament the outcome of which is believed to have been decided by vote bribes.
“If we fail to take resolute steps to stop this diversion from the democratization process, we could reach a point where the process will be irreversible and will affect all upcoming elections,” the Dashnaktsutyun leader warns. “We simply have no right to once again hold an election the results of which will be dubious.” Rustamian also reveals that there are “tactical differences” between Dashnaktsutyun and President Robert Kocharian. “On some issues we can agree with his tactic of slowly hurrying up. But there is also another famous notion about the danger of leaving it late. And that primarily applies to addressing the existing diversion from the country’s democratization processes.”
“Aravot” reasons that the West is unwilling to support the Armenian opposition because it has no reason to be seriously unhappy with Kocharian. “The only thing which the West may not like is Kocharian’s friendship with Russia. But there must, after all, be something left for Russia in our region because they wrested Georgia [from the Russians] and now it is Azerbaijan’s turn.” The West can afford letting Russia keep its grip on Armenia, concludes the paper.