“Robert Kocharian has decided to punish Artur Baghdasarian,” writes “168 Zham,” drawing parallels between the fates of the parliament speaker and the former chief of the presidential staff, Artashes Tumanian. The paper suggests the following explanation for the development: “Artur Baghdasarian has felt like Robert Kocharian’s successor and begun his pre-election campaign of late. In the process he was doing everything to distance himself from the current authorities that had helped become the number two official in the Republic of Armenia in 2003.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” says Baghdasarian starting beginning sentences with the “dull” phrase “gone are the days when…” “And so Serzh Sarkisian now wants to prove that those days are not gone at all,” the paper comments bitingly. “The problem does not stem from the populist and pro-European statements made by the Orinats Yerkir leader.” The Armenian authorities, it says, are simply clearing the way for new pro-Kocharian politicians and parties. Orinats Yerkir is being given only one option to remain afloat: “If you can, take the opposition’s votes and enter the parliament that way.”
“The speaker’s political figure will be decided at the [presidential] palace,” says “Golos Armenii.”
“Orinats Yerkir will be driven out of the government system but will not become an opposition,” says “168 Zham.” “Unless, of course, all of this is not a well-thought operation the purpose of which is to send Artur Baghdasarian to the opposition camp and split that camp. After all, there will be national elections in Armenia in 2007 and 2008. And those are always unpredictable. Even in Armenia.” The paper also reports on rumors circulating in the National Assembly that Baghdasarian will be replaced by the leader of the People’s Deputy group, Karen Karapetian.
“Azg” attributes the collapse of the Orinats Yerkir faction in the parliament to the strengthening of Gagik Tsarukian’s Prosperous Armenia Party. The paper says Orinats Yerkir is standing in the way of Prosperous Armenia’s electoral success.
“We might be told that as a result of the Orinats Yerkir affair the parliament’s authority will suffer. But does the parliament have one?” asks “Hayots Ashkhar.”
“It is evident that the authorities are bent on falsifying the upcoming elections by traditional means,” opposition politician Shavarsh Kocharian tells “Aravot.” He says that the governing coalition has drafted fresh amendments to Armenia’s electoral legislation for that purpose.
According to “Haykakan Zhamanak,” it is not just businessmen that will be forced to leave the Orinats Yerkir faction. The paper says Baghdasarian should also brace for defections from his “political team.” At least two its members, Orinats Yerkir faction leaders Samvel Balasanian and Hovannes Markarian, also have business interests that are about be scrutinized by prosecutors. “It should be added that the entire operation to destroy Orinats Yerkir is led from the presidential palace.” News of every s ingle Orinats Yerkir defection is immediately relayed to Kocharian, claims the paper.