“We are not yet a fully democratic country,” Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian is quoted by “Azg” as telling members of Germany’s Armenian community on Sunday. “We must now enter a painful period of second-generation reforms. We failed in the previous elections and have no room [for another setback] now.” “Our greatest challenge is to ensure double-digit economic growth in the coming years,” continued Oskanian. “It will be a big blow if we see a few years later that we have fallen behind the other countries of the region.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that opposition leader Stepan Demirchian has rejected offers to form an election alliance with the Hanrapetutyun, Zharangutyun and National Democratic Union (AZhM) parties. The papers says those opposition parties were ready to let Demirchian top the list of the bloc’s candidates. “Demirchian found unfair the fact that other charismatic representatives of his party were not offered a sufficient number of seats.” The paper says Hanrapetutyun, Zharangutyun and the AZhM are now considering forming such an alliance without Demirchian.
“Zhamanak Yerevan” notes sarcastically that voters in the Syunik region will be lucky to witness an election clash between two “giants,” Samvel Babayan and Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian’s’ brother Aleksandr. “In case he beats the defense minister’s brother, Samvel Babayan may simply end the myth about Serzh Sarkisian,” speculates the paper. “But in case of his defeat, Samvel Babayan may simply become the republic’s youngest pensioner.”
President Robert Kocharian’s press secretary, Victor Soghomonian, comments in “Hayots Ashkhar” on rumors that he will be high on the list of the election candidates of Gagik Tsarukian’s Prosperous Armenia Party. “Unless the president makes a different decision, I will continue to serve in my current capacity,” says Soghomonian. “I am not going to join the proportional list of any party.”
“According to our sources close to the Armenian police, the police will likely have a new chief soon,” reports “Aravot.” The paper says among the candidates for the job is the chief of the military police, Vladimir Gasparian. He is said to be backed by Kocharian.