(Saturday, November 26)
“Zhamanak” suggests that the main opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK) has, in fact, closed the political year by scheduling its next rally for February. The paper’s editor writes: “Apparently, the political year can be considered closed also for the government. December is likely to be a quiet month, without high-profile resignations. Armenia’s political life seems to be going into ‘winter hibernation’, but, of course, with the prospect of getting back to a high-activity status once spring arrives, bringing along a heated election atmosphere.”
In an interview with “Aravot” a lawmaker representing the second most important ruling coalition party, Prosperous Armenia (BHK), comments on the speech made by HAK leader Levon Ter-Petrosian at the Friday rally in which he did not exclude cooperation with the BHK if the latter quit the ruling coalition and openly challenged President Serzh Sarkisian. Vartan Bostanjian says he has not heard any talk about a possible withdrawal from the coalition or cooperation with the HAK within his party. “The decision on starting cooperation with any political force is up to the political party’s board… In this regard, I am inclined to refrain from comments on this. Nevertheless, our party cannot but address these proposals, words and approaches,” he stresses.
“Yerkir” sees the authorities as pursuing two ‘interlinked’ objectives in their purported campaign to try to subjugate the BHK: “Firstly, the current president is afraid of this party’s potential and in view of the absence of any other adequate resource he starts to use state-administrative instruments against it. Secondly, the challenge is not so much to make the BHK accept its defeat as to turn it into an appendage, which can be done only by compelling the BHK to contest the upcoming parliamentary elections with a common slate [with the ruling Republican Party of Armenia]. It is all clear from the point of view of political ambitions, but it is totally against the ‘fair play’ rules at least for the simple reason that the coalition memorandum does not have any such requirement.”
A “Hraparak” writer suggests that, odd as it may sound, the opposition in Armenia has grown to be one of the causes contributing to the emigration of the population. “People dissatisfied with their living standards and with the government pin their hopes on the opposition, vote for it, then, putting themselves at risk, attend opposition rallies and protests whether in the winter cold or summer heat. When they hear appeals, they take to the street, when they are sent home, they leave without a murmur, waiting for further instructions. And they do this all hoping that the opposition will one day fulfill the promise give by their leader and will deliver its supporters from the hated government to lead them to a radiant future. But time goes by and nothing is changing in people’s lives. So what can ordinary citizens do when they are disappointed not only with the authorities, but also with the opposition?”
In an interview with “Hayots Ashkhar” the pro-government head of the parliament’s committee on finance and budget affairs, Gagik Minasian, rejects the assumption that Moody’s Investors Service’s downgrading Armenia’s credit rating will make donor organizations more cautious in providing long-term preferential loans to the country and that because of that Armenia will have difficulties in closing its state budget deficit. Minasian explains: “There is one very important circumstance here. The loans that the government borrowed during the crisis period for stabilizing and stimulating our economy were forwarded to private companies and, naturally, a certain part of the foreign debt will thus be repaid not from the state budget but by the organizations that received those loans. So, formally, the ratio of our external debt burden and the Gross Domestic Product may seem worse than it actually is.”