The Armenian press continues to comment on President Robert Kocharian’s latest interview with the country’s three largest television channels.
“The parties and the mediating countries have no differences on the issue of continuing the [Karabakh] negotiation process in 2007 as well,” writes “Hayots Ashkhar.” “The only thing is that it will be practically impossible to achieve a breakthrough in the talks during that period. Also practically impossible during the same period is a resumption of hostilities between the parties, something which is noted even by the Azerbaijani political elders.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” again looks at Kocharian’s comments on internal political developments. “Robert Kocharian clearly hinted that he is not going to hand over the reigns of power to somebody else, and if he is doing that as president, he will govern the country as prime minister in 2008,” writes the paper. “He had this in mind when he said that he is not going to become the republic’s youngest pensioner.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” goes on to present the following scenario: “Serzh Sarkisian becomes prime minister after the parliamentary elections. But in order to prevent him from getting too strong in that position, it is essential that the Prosperous Armenia [party] has a strong presence in the next [governing] coalition. As for Dashnaktsutyun, it is needed for influencing Serzh Sarkisian with its constant threats to defect to the opposition.”
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” cites “sources in the presidential administration” as saying that Kocharian has already been presented with a list of individuals who will be elected to the next National Assembly from Armenia’s 41 single-mandate constituencies. He is also said to have decided in principle which party will be represented in the parliament. Sixty of its 131 members will represent the governing Republican Party, while 35 others Prosperous Armenia. The Armenian opposition will have to content itself with only 20 seats. The remaining 16 seats will be given to Dashnaktsutyun and the United Labor Party, according to the paper.
“Aravot” notes that the Karabakh issue has long been absent from the domestic political agenda. The only person who made Karabakh the main theme of his political statements was Zhirayr Sefilian. “But they have jailed and gotten rid of him,” says the paper. “Kocharian says that he is not going to become a pensioner. It wouldn’t hurt if he became [a pensioner] just for one month and saw how the pensioners live in a country governed by him.”
According to “Iravunk,” Kocharian openly disagreed with Serzh Sarkisian’s recent dismissive reference to Prosperous Armenia. The paper says Kocharian implied that Sarkisian’s Republican Party has a lot to learn from Prosperous Armenia.
Andranik Hovakimian, deputy chairman of the former ruling Armenian Pan-National Movement (HHSh), tells “Hayk” that Kocharian may still decide to seek a third term in office. “He hopes to create a situation that would allow to again run [for president],” claims Hovakimian.