(Saturday, October 2)
“Aravot” says Armenia’s leadership seems intent on “limiting oligarchs’ ability to become parliament deputies” in the 2012 elections. “That is a positive phenomenon in itself,” editorializes the paper. “But that will also bring with it some problems.” It argues that wealthy government-linked businessmen may simply have “nice-looking bespectacled young people fluent in foreign languages, who were handpicked by the presidential administration in advance” to run for parliament in their place. The question is, it says, whether the oligarchs and their cronies would strive ensure their election to the National Assembly with the same zeal.
Political analyst Edgar Vartanian tells “Kapital” that renewed friction between the ruling Republican Party (HHK) and its main coalition partner, Prosperous Armenia (BHK), stems from the HHK’s attempts to “change rules of the game” and “transform” the country’s existing political order. “When you try to concentrate authority in the hands of a single group and make it more authoritarian, then some people, who today have clear government and economic levers, may be driven out of the game and lose those levers,” he says. Vartanian believes that the BHK will not leave the governing coalition because “the opposition electorate can no longer regard any establishment force as opposition.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” claims that the “process of the monopolization” of lucrative business in Armenia is continuing, singling out the agricultural sector. “Each year it is becoming more and more difficult for villagers to sell their crops at beneficial prices, which means that they start slowly giving up farming,” editorializes the paper. “And a villager not engaging in farming does not need land. He has to sell it in order to leave for Russia for repay his debts. Accordingly, the majority of village mayors affiliated with the HHK and the BHK have become agricultural land and orchard dealers.”
“Hayots Ashkhar” asks HHK deputy Hovannes Sahakian to comment on opposition claims that the HHK expectation to gain the majority of seats in the next National Assembly means that the next parliamentary elections will be rigged. Sahakian dismisses these claims, saying that there are no objective grounds for widespread popular discontent with the government not least because “even during the crisis it has managed to carry out its social programs.” By contrast, he says, the opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK) has done nothing except holding rallies and complaining about the government to foreigners.
Speaking to “Hraparak,” Galust Sahakian, an HHK deputy chairman, confirms that the party led by President Serzh Sarkisian expects to win the 2012 parliamentary elections by a landslide.