(Saturday, December 3)
Interviewed by “Hayots Ashkhar,” Razmik Zohrabian, a deputy chairman of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK), insists that there were no political motives behind the controversial arrests on drug trafficking charges of two supporters of the Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK), the HHK’s main partner in the ruling coalition. Zohrabian accuses media of politicizing the “normal work of the police.” “It is possible that individuals affiliated with the Republican or another party will be arrested on the same charges,” he says.
Speaking to “168 Zham,” political pundit Hmayak Hovannisian warns the Republicans against pressuring the BHK too hard. He says that an open confrontation between the two governing parties would play into the hands of Levon Ter-Petrosian’s Armenian National Congress (HAK). “It will be very beneficial for the HAK if insurmountable differences emerge between the HHK and the BHK,” he says. Hovannisian says President Serzh Sarkisian realizes this and will tread carefully in his further dealings with the BHK.
“Zhamanak” attacks BHK leader Gagik Tsarukian for throwing a birthday party in Dubai which was reportedly attended by former and current government officials. The pro-opposition daily says this fact only proves that Tsarukian is “a man of entertainment who can have fun outside Armenia in connection with his birthday during a very important political moment.” “Tsarukian is not at all a unique member of Armenia’s oligarchic system,” it says. “It’s just that he was not lucky and Levon Ter-Petrosian named him at the November 25 rally because before that he was unlucky to be chosen by Robert Kocharian as the main intra-government tool of [Kocharian’s] fight against Serzh Sarkisian.”
“Aravot” criticizes the opposition HAK for offering to cooperate with Tsarukian’s party. The paper says this means being ready to “join forces with some bandits to topple the other bandits.” “Politics is really not the place where you must act with white gloves,” it says. “But that was simply a wrong calculation [by the HAK.] The authorities will not hand over any of their bandits.”
“Yerkir” says that neither Samvel Nikoyan nor another senior HHK lawmaker, Eduard Sharmazanov, is fit to lead the Armenian parliament. “Nor was [the previous parliament speaker] Hovik Abrahamian,” writes the paper. “But with his clout and ambitions he managed to gain independence, no matter how small, which eventually led to his dismissal. Nikoyan does not have that clout and authority and that was obvious just days ago when he failed to even bring Republican deputies into the [parliament] auditorium in order to organize a vote properly. They are simply making clear to him that they do not want to be subordinated to a man who simply has not earned that right with his activities.”