“Hayots Ashkhar” the possible impact of the approaching election races in Armenia and Azerbaijan on the latest understandings reached by the conflicting parties. “The most vulnerable side of the current negotiating process is a lack of public knowledge in both countries about the already reached agreements,” writes the paper. “One could understand that in the past, because of the secrecy of the long-running negotiations. But now that all the information has to be made public elections are looming on the horizon.” The election campaigns mean that the issue can be easily exploited by political opponents of the Armenian and Azerbaijani governments.
In a separate comment, “Hayots Ashkhar” stands by its view that the Armenian opposition will fail to form a united front ahead of next spring’s parliamentary elections and will make it much easier for the authorities to retain their control of the National Assembly. “Even if some united front is formed, the vast majority of opposition leaders will seek to hedge their bets and maintain contacts with the presidential administration for that purpose and will at the same time try to strike each other from behind,” says the paper.
“Zhamanak Yerevan” voices the conspiracy theory that President Robert Kocharian may well be toppled by Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian as early as this spring. The paper presents this as a Western-backed scenario aimed at clearing the way for a Karabakh settlement. “According to that scenario, the most interesting thing will start in late summer 2008. The Russian military bases will be withdrawn from Armenia and replaced by troops from NATO member Poland.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that Victor Dallakian, an outspoken opposition parliamentarian, is courting Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian after being rebuffed by the Prosperous Armenia party of oligarch Gagik Tsarukian. “In Dallakian’s view, this is a serious political step with which he wants to take his revenge on Gagik Tsarukian,” claims the paper.