“Judging from the authorities’ behavior in recent months, it is evident that Serzh Sarkisian has apparently realized that if he wants after all to wield [absolute] power in Armenia he should take qualitatively different steps,” editorializes “Zhamanak.” “Or else, he would be doomed to eternally remain in Robert Kocharian’s shadow … He simply understands very well that it is impossible to cling to power with truncheons or to mainly rely on truncheons.”
Ruben Hayrapetian, a wealthy businessman and the chairman of the Armenian Football Federation, tells “168 Zham” that he believes that Sarkisian’s Republican Party (HHK) will have a majority of seats in the next National Assembly as well. Hayrapetian also rules the possibility that the HHK’s coalition partner, the Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK), will join forces with Levon Ter-Petrosian’s Armenian National Congress (HAK). “[BHK leader] Gagik Tsarukian might team up with any political force except Levon Ter-Petrosian,” he says. “That is my personal conviction. First of all, Gagik Tsarukian is a friend of mine. He is also a coalition partner. I keep in touch with him on a daily basis and he is so smart, he loves his country so much that he will definitely not join Levon Ter-Petrosian.”
“Yerkir” notes that the HAK offered to work together with Tsarukian’s party despite having branded anyone cooperating with the authorities as “the enemy of the people.” “When they seek to cooperate with forces that are part of the government or engage in dialogue with the government, that [from the HAK perspective] is not a manifestation of an unprincipled stance but realpolitik-style political analyses,” the paper says tartly. “And as we know, nobody except HAK members can do such analyses.”
“Chorrord Inknishkhanutyun” sees parallels and major differences between political developments in Armenia and Russia. The paper points out that both countries are to hold presidential elections several months after parliamentary ones. “But in Russia, it is not yet clear who can mount a serious challenge against [Vladimir] Putin,” says the pro-HAK daily. “The situation is totally different in Armenia. There is a much more serious and weighty presidential candidate here,” it adds in clear reference to Ter-Petrosian.
Justice Minister Hrayr Tovmasian tells “Aravot” that a lack of public trust in Armenian courts is one of the most serious challenges facing the country. “More than 82 percent of our society does not trust the judicial branch, something which I consider critical,” he says. “There are both objective and subjective reasons for this and it is wrong to blame everything on the judiciary.” Tovmasian complains in that regard that some Armenian lawyers contribute to that distrust by unjustly attacking judges after “every lost case.”