Vahan Hovannisian, a leader of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun), comments in “Aravot” on the fact that his party does not seem to top the list of political groups which President Robert Kocharian hopes will win seats in the next parliament. (In his last televised interview, Kocharian mentioned Dashnaktsutyun after the Republican and Prosperous Armenia parties.) “I think the president primarily put the emphasis on those who are in need of help, in need of support because they feel a lack of some resource,” says Hovannisian.
“Aravot” claims in a separate report that there are growing tensions within the Republican Party (HHK). The paper says many senior and rank-and-file members of the HHK are unhappy with Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian’s recent “egocentric activities.” It says there is also growing discontent with Environment Minister Vartan Ayvazian, who joined the HHK recently and is now promising to earn the party the backing of fellow Georgian-born Armenians. “There is a sense within the party that that prospect could have dangerous consequences for the HHK in the first instance.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that parliament deputy Nahapet ‘Novo’ Gevorgian has been dismissed as chairman of the HHK branch in the southern Armavir region and is now in a “furious mood.” “He has already complained in many places that if he had known that he will be cheated [by the HHK leadership], he would not have stolen a ballot box and bullied European observers in the last elections,” says the paper. “Novo now regrets terrible vote irregularities which he carried out in favor of the HHK.”
Gurgen Arsenian, the flamboyant leader of the pro-government United Labor Party (MAK), tells “Hayots Ashkhar” that Armenian voters must be made to undergo a “political detonation” ahead of next spring’s parliamentary elections. This, he says, is essential for ensuring a high voter turnout in the polls. “It is wrong to constantly tell the people that the elections will be rigged,” Arsenian attacks the opposition.
“Hayots Ashkhar” also quotes opposition leader Vazgen Manukian as saying that the past year has seen no political evolution in Armenia. Manukian sees a continuing “political crisis” in the country. “In that sense, Armenia has gone from bad to very bad,” claims the leader of the National Democratic Union.
“Although we began and have lived the past year with an amended constitution, our life and the content of our life have essentially remained the same,” editorializes “Taregir.” The paper goes on to sum up the following changes in the country: “We did not have political prisoners, but we now have one. We did not have [the second mobile phone operator] VivaCell, but now have. The Republicans did not have Serzh Sarkisian [as their leader,] but now have. We did not have Prosperous Armenia, but now have.”