“Iskakan Iravunk” speculates about possible reasons for the botched attempted on the life of Gyumri Mayor Vartan Ghukasian. The paper notes that Ghukasian used to be very close to President Robert Kocharian but has had a “very warm” rapport with Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian in the past several months. It says Sarkisian and his HHK hope that Ghukasian will ensure their victory in the Shirak region during next month’s parliamentary elections. “There are also rumors that he will be appointed governor of Shirak after the elections.”
According to “Iskakan Iravunk,” the armed attack on Ghukasian may have also been the result of a “personal feud.” “There are rumors linking Vartan Ghukasian’s entourage with some murders committed in Gyumri. Ghukasian also had problems with some Gyumri Republicans.”
“At first glance, Serzh Sarkisian should not be happy with the post [of prime minister,]” writes “Aravot.” “The position of the prime minister is more vulnerable than that of the defense minister and carries more political responsibility. But in the existing balance of forces there can be no other logical choice of the prime minister.” Kocharian and the HHK could not have made other, “unconventional” decisions in advance of the parliamentary elections, says the paper.
According to “Hayots Ashkhar,” the premiership will give Sarkisian and the HHK nothing except extra “responsibility.” The pro-Sarkisian paper says it would be much easier for the defense minister to prepare for the parliamentary and presidential elections in his current capacity. “In the event of his appointment as prime minister, Serzh Sarkisian will take on the role of a consolidator of all those forces that are seeking to maintain continuity in Armenia’s current domestic and foreign policies and bring the task of a securing just solution to the Karabakh problem to a logical end,” it says.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that Sarkisian allegedly lashed out at Minister for Local Government Hovik Abrahamian during Monday’s meeting of the HHK board. “According to those rumors, Serzh Sarkisian told Abrahamian that Abrahamian must be gone from the HHK by the time he returns from [a April 3-4 visit to] Brussels,” says the paper, adding that Sarkisian suspects him of secretly working for Gagik Tsarukian’s Prosperous Armenia Party.
“Hayk” reports that Lieutenant-General Seyran Ohanian, defense minister of the self-proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, is set to become Armenia’s defense minister. “There is speculation that the Armenian police chief Hayk Harutiunian will also be sacked and replaced by the NKR police chief Armen Isagulov,” says the paper.