“These elections are different from the previous ones in that there are serious disagreements not between the Armenian authorities and international structures but between those structures and the opposition,” writes “168 Zham.” “The opposition claims that the elections were blatantly rigged, while international structures claim that they were slightly rigged and that there is nothing serious. The reason is not that we have managed to fool the international community. The reason is that the international community is happy that there were almost no casualties [in the parliamentary race] and that this parliament will have a pro-Russian majority and a pro-Western opposition, rather than a pro-Russian majority and an equally pro-Russian opposition, which has been the case before.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” suggests that the election outcome is a serious setback for President Robert Kocharian, arguing that the governing Republican Party (HHK) and its leader, Prime Minister Serzh Sarkisian, will not depend on him in controlling the National Assembly. “It is now evident that Armenia’s real government levers are now in Serzh Sarkisian’s hands. And so Kocharian’s self-esteem and the [Kocharian-Sarkisian] duo’s relationship will be put to the serious test: the formation of a post-election cabinet.” The main question now, says the paper, is whether Sarkisian wants Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian and other Kocharian loyalists to be part of his new government.
“Hayots Ashkhar” is surprised that Raffi Hovannisian’s Zharangutyun Party won more votes than the pro-Kocharian United Labor Party and Artashes Geghamian’s National Unity Party. “No wonder that many are now saying openly that Raffi Hovannisian was simply helped to enter parliament,” says the pro-presidential paper. “And all of a sudden that person declares without feeling ashamed that he polled three times more votes [than were shown by the official vote tally,] is preparing to submit some data to the Constitutional Court, talks about some bitter reality, stretches his hands to everyone.”
Citing unnamed HHK sources, “Hayk” reports that the posts of education minister and health minister, currently held members of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun), will be given to Republicans. The paper claims that another top Republican, Galust Sahakian, and his son Arman are vying for the post of culture minister. “The post of minister for local government will be occupied by Karen Karapetian, while [the current minister] Hovik Abrahamian will have to content himself with a parliament deputy’s mandate,” it says.
“Zhamanak Yerevan” reports that Gagik Tsarukian’s Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) is also eyeing ministerial portfolios. “There are rumors that they will get the ministries of health and transport and communications,” says the paper. But it adds that if Tsarukian gets too pushy “it is possible that Serzh Sarkisian will get angry and decide that the HHK will be ruling single-handedly.”