“Haykakan Zhamanak” says a series of resignations of senior government officials has not eliminated tensions within Armenia’s ruling coalition. The paper says the Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) of Gagik Tsarukian has still not been “subjugated” by President Serzh Sarkisian. “In this sense, the situation hasn’t changed much in the last two months,” it says. “First of all, Gagik Tsarukian has not explicitly stated that he will be supporting Serzh Sarkisian’s candidacy in the forthcoming presidential election. Even if he states, the situation will not change … Accordingly, there is a view in the [ruling] HHK that the Republicans have not gotten stronger as a result of the latest personnel changes.”
Political analyst Aleksandr Iskandarian tells “Hayots Ashkhar” that the opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK) is losing momentum ahead of the May 2012 parliamentary elections. “On the one hand, the Congress began a dialogue with the authorities, but on the other has tried to carry on with radical rhetoric in order to retain its electorate,” says Iskandarian. “Playing with two strings, it has found itself in an equivocal situation and lost the trust of some of its radical supporters.”
Armen Martirosian, a leader of the opposition Zharangutyun (Heritage) party, tells “Aravot” that government pledges to hold the most democratic elections in Armenia’s history are aimed at misleading the West and securing continued assistance from the latter. “What happened until now on the institutional [reform] front gives me no reason for optimism,” says Martirosian. He argues that the Armenian authorities are maintaining their grip on broadcast media and have no intention to loosen it. “And it’s impossible to hold fair elections without independent media,” he says. Martirosian also argues that the authorities have blocked significant changes to the Electoral Code proposed by Zharangutyun and other opposition forces.
“Zhamanak” reports that a fresh meeting of the HHK’s governing board held on Wednesday night was not followed by resignations or sackings of senior officials. The paper points out that the board itself does not make such decisions. It is simply notified of President Sarkisian’s decisions and rubber-stamps them.