“Zhamanak” criticizes a reported remark by a spokesman for the opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK) that Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) leader Gagik Tsarukian is not an “oligarch” because he is not part of the government. The paper says that “in Armenia it is impossible to be a billionaire and not to be part of the government.” It also argues that Tsarukian remained a member of President Serzh Sarkisian’s National Security Council after the BHK left the ruling coalition last month.
“Aravot” asks BHK spokesman Tigran Urikhanian to explain HAK leader Levon Ter-Petrosian’s markedly positive attitude to Tsarukian. “Everyone praises the BHK,” Urikhanian says. “Why do you only focus on Levon Ter-Petrosian’s statements? I think that praise is conditioned by the BHK’s wishes and actions stemming from the interests of the country’s citizens … As for the first president [Ter-Petrosian,] people change their opinions. He has changed his opinion.”
Miasnik Malkhasian, a well-known HAK member, tells “Hraparak” that the authorities deliberately “keep the people in extreme poverty” in order to buy their votes in elections. He says the HAK cannot change this situation single-handedly. “We need a popular outburst in order to be able to get rid of the regime,” he says. “For that reason cooperation [with other political groups] should be welcome.”
Speaking to “Hayots Ashkhar,” Arsen Hambardzumian, a senior member of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun), reaffirms the opposition party’s readiness to support presidential candidates fielded by other opposition forces. “We view the  presidential elections in the context of complete regime change,” he says. “And if it becomes possible to consolidate various opposition forces around a common political platform the option of supporting a non-Dashnaktsutyun candidate will also be possible. We are not talking about the nomination of a representative by the HAK, the BHK or another political party as a single candidate. It’s quite possible that that candidate would not be affiliated with any political force.”
“Zhoghovurd” says that for the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) the September 9 mayoral election in Gyumri will probably be the most serious test ahead of the 2013 presidential ballot. The paper anticipates a “more than heated struggle” in Armenia’s second largest city. It points out that the HHK was defeated by the BHK in most Gyumri constituencies in the May 9 parliamentary elections. “Now the Republican Party will be doing everything to restore its positions and show that the outcome of the last parliamentary elections was the result of [Gyumri Mayor] Vartan Ghukasian’s bad work, rather than the HHK’s low approval rating,” it says. “But for that purpose the HHK must get rid of Vartan Ghukasian by all means.”