“168 Zham” draws parallels between the November constitutional referendum and a mass circle dance around Armenia’s highest mountain organized by Prosecutor-General Aghvan Hovsepian in May. The paper says both undertakings pursued the same goal: “to show how united our people are, how much they trust the authorities, how happy they are to live in free and independent Armenia.”
“Azg” predicts “big changes in the political arena,” saying that a new opposition structure may emerge next year from within the government ranks. The current mainstream opposition, says the paper, is “unable to react to the public’s demands and objectives.”
“Hayastani Hanrapetutyun” reports that President Robert Kocharian assured Armenia’s leading businessmen on Monday that the ruling coalition will not fall apart before the next parliamentary election. “There could be various modifications later on,” he said. “But until May 2007 we have responsibility and obligations towards the people.”
“I don’t think there will a collapse of the coalition [in 2006] because there are serious things to be done in the course of the year,” deputy parliament speaker Tigran Torosian tells “Hayots Ashkhar.” Another lawmaker, Shavarsh Kocharian, says “even the most implausible alliance” may come into existence in 2006. Some of the currently ruling parties may find themselves in opposition, he claims.
According to opposition leader Aram Sarkisian, “regroupings” within both the government and opposition camps are already underway. “168 Zham” quotes him as saying that “very interesting negotiations” are going on right now.
“Hayots Ashkhar” says Armenia is entering the new year in a state of “stability” and both the authorities and the public in general want to preserve it. But the paper says that stability is unlikely to be long-lasting, comparing the Armenian political stage to a “rusty water pipe” that will burst sooner or later. The political situation in the country, it says, will “drastically escalate” in the second half of 2006. “Not because there will be parliamentary elections in the spring of 2007 and the opposition will again try to turn them into a revolution. No. It’s just that by that time the factor of a departing president will begin to be felt in Armenia. A lot will depend on the president. All the signs are that the best scenario for the country would be the preservation of the policies pursued today,” concludes the pro-presidential daily.
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” says the presidential palace in Yerevan has been guarded by truckloads of armed soldiers around the clock in recent weeks. “Soldiers guard the presidential residence until dawn,” says the paper. “The nature of this fear is quite weird because Kocharian does not spend the nights in his workplace. He is most probably scared that somebody will enter the build and sit on his chair in his absence.”