“Aravot” quotes an opposition politician as alleging that President Robert Kocharian has turned down an invitation to attend next week’s session in Paris of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly under pressure from Russia. “Given NATO’s efforts at intensive enlargement and NATO’s recent statement that it plans to consider the issue of Georgia’s and Ukraine’s membership in that organization in 2008, Russia and Robert Kocharian worry that Armenia also might get offers or hints to deepen cooperation with the Euro-Atlantic alliance,” says Hovannes Hovannisian of the Liberal Progressive Party.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” puts the following question to Education Minister Sergo Yeritsian, “In the 1999 parliament, Orinats Yerkir was an opposition and you were one of the opposition-minded members of that faction. What changes have led to declare that you can’t be in opposition today?” “At the time we were aspiring to power, which is natural for any opposition force,” replies Yeritsian. “But look at what has emerged now. We joined the government and are relinquishing power in order to again come to power? That approach is unacceptable to me.”
Yeritsian also dismisses arguments that he has been too quick to switch sides throughout his political career and confirms reports that he will be demoted to another government position soon. “I would prefer to deal with science and education,” he says.
“The people also know that the coalition was a temporary power-sharing arrangement,” pollster Aharon Adibekian tells “Azg.” He says Armenians have no regrets about the latest intra-government crisis because they have seen no “clear-cut political line, actions and objectives” on the part of the coalition. “If the Dashnaks too quit the coalition, we would have a real, serious and deep political crisis. Orinats Yerkir is a novice in the political arena,” adds Adibekian.
“Businessmen did not leave Orinats Yerkir, they were driven out of the party,” “Hayots Ashkhar” writes in an editorial. “The thing is that the party’s leadership viewed businessmen solely as money bags.” The paper says wealthy Orinats Yerkir deputies defected not because of facing strong government pressure but because they were never taken seriously Artur Baghdasarian and his entourage.