“Zhamanak” reports that the Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) has refused to join the three opposition groups represented in the Armenian parliament in sending questions to state prosecutors regarding the June 17 deadly assault at Yerevan’s Harsnakar restaurant. The BHK representatives say their party did so because it does not want to take any joint actions with the Zharangutyun party. “So Prosperous Armenia has found the enemy of the state, the cause of all problems in Armenia: Zharangutyun,” the paper comments tartly. “The BHK can now justify any destructive and pro-government step with [its stance against] Zharangutyun.”
Speaking to “Hayots Ashkhar,” Ruben Hakobian, a Zharangutyun leader, dismisses opposition critics’ claims that his party is now acting more against the opposition than the government. “This is simply ludicrous talk,” he says. “There is a conspiracy against the opposition masses. They are trying to bring one of the coalition forces (the BHK) into the opposition camp and impose it [upon opposition forces] as the opposition leader.” In a clear reference to Levon Ter-Petrosian’s Armenian National Congress (HAK), Hakobian says such allegations are spread by those forces that have greatly benefited the BHK by cooperating with Gagik Tsarukian’s party before and after the recent parliamentary elections.
Deputy parliament speaker Eduard Sharmazanov tells “Irates de facto” that he expects the BHK to “clarify its position” on the government in the run-up to next year’s presidential election. “The BHK will hardly remain neutral during the presidential election,” he says. “I think it will support one of the candidates.”
“Past experience shows that those who usurped power don’t care if the opposition is united or not,” Karapet Rubinian, a veteran opposition figure, tells “Aravot.” “They will work with their power methods and mechanisms of fraud anyway.” Therefore, says Rubinian, the question of whether or not there will be a single opposition candidate in the 2013 presidential election is not the most important one.
“Hraparak” believes that little will change in Gyumri if its longtime and controversial mayor, Vartan Ghukasian, is indeed replaced by Samvel Balasanian, a businessman representing the BHK. “But one thing is clear,” writes the paper. “Neither the former nor the future mayors are candidates worthy of Armenia’s second city.” In any case, it says, the mayor will be installed by the central government, rather than Gyumri residents. But the latter must still challenge the government but voting for a candidate not handpicked by Yerevan, according to “Hraparak.”