“Aravot” notes that Armenian political parties are in no rush to nominate candidates for next February’s presidential election. The paper singles out the opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK), whose leader, Levon Ter-Petrosian, has still not clarified his near-term political plans. It says that since the HAK leader is not sure whether to run for president again he should have groomed and promoted another potential candidate months ago.
“Hayots Ashkhar” claims that Gagik Tsarukian’s Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) is “terrified” at the prospect of participating in the February with its own candidate. “It doesn’t need such ‘happiness’ at all, and what the party leadership is doing now is just PR,” writes the paper.
“Zhamanak” says that President Serzh Sarkisian will reassure the European Union on his commitment to Armenia’s European integration and portray himself as a “great reformer of the 21st century” when he visits Romania this week. In the meantime, the secretary of Sarkisian’s National Security Council, Artur Baghdasarian, is holding talks with senior Russian officials in Moscow. “Why and how do the West and Russia believe in this dual game which Armenia’s authorities have been playing for years in hopes of finding foreign sponsors for their reproduction?” asks the paper. “Who said that they believe? Let nobody doubt that the Armenian authorities’ assurances are not taken at face value in the West and Russia.” That distrust, according to the paper, has been critical for the regime’s survival so far. “That is why the West and Russia are gradually heightening pressure on Armenia,” it says.
Health Minister Derenik Dumanian tells “Hraparak” that President Serzh Sarkisian’s criticism of corruption in public healthcare in Armenia is “absolutely acceptable” and will definitely be addressed. “Problems that have been accumulated for years cannot be eliminated in one or two months,” says Dumanian. “Time is needed to solve them.” Still, he adds that corrupt practices in the sector can be eliminated “very rapidly.”