“I think we are not heading for pre-term parliamentary or presidential elections,” former parliament speaker Artur Baghdasarian says, answering questions from “Azg” readers. He also says he expects a “victory” from the next parliamentary election due in May 2007.
“Iravunk” carries Baghdasarian’s similar interview with its readers. “Those people who think that they can rig [elections] and get away with that are badly mistaken,” warns the Orinats Yerkir leader.
“Golos Armenii” wonders whether Baghdasarian will try to form a pro-Western opposition alliance and whether the authorities have reserved any political “role” for him. The paper says it may well be that by forcing Baghdasarian to step down as parliament speaker the authorities issued a warning to potential dissenters inside the ruling establishment. “There is not much time left before the elections. So answers to these questions will emerge.”
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” notes that not only Stepan Demirchian but also some leaders of the radical opposition Hanrapetutyun party have expressed readiness to cooperate with Orinats Yerkir. The paper says two other, smaller opposition groups are already in talks with Baghdasarian. It claims that for Baghdasarian and his party close collaboration with prominent oppositionists is vital for winning over the opposition electorate and proving Orinats Yerkir’s stated opposition credentials.
According to “168 Zham,” those who talk to Baghdasarian these days say he can not come to grips with the fact that he is not a senior state official anymore. Baghdasarian is also said to have complained that ex-speakers are shown much more respect in Europe than in Armenia.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” says some members of the Armenian parliament staff who were Orinats Yerkir members as recently as two weeks ago were proudly brandishing on Monday documents certifying to their affiliation with Prime Minister Andranik Markarian’s Republican Party. The paper says those officials are rumored to have also been members of Levon Ter-Petrosian’s Armenian Pan-National Movement until it was ousted from power in 1998.
“Hayots Ashkhar” quotes a senior member of the Artarutyun alliance, Hrant Khachatrian, as reaffirming the opposition bloc’s plans to boycott the election of the new parliament speaker. Khachatrian says Artarutyun lawmakers will only take part in the discussion of candidates for the post. “Of course, this is a passive stance. But being aware of the [parliament] majority’s position, we realize that everything has been predetermined in principle,” he explains.
“Aravot” agrees with government argument that Baghdasarian’s resignation did not spark a “parliamentary crisis” in Armenia. “There is no parliamentary crisis for the simple reason there is no [genuine] parliament,” editorializes the paper. “One group of puppets has been replaced by another group that got its modest share in the state trough in the form of posts and economic benefits stemming from them.”