“Zhamanak” predicts that the opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK) will face growing discord within its leadership after next year’s presidential election. The paper says there are already cracks in the alliance over its electoral strategy. It predicts similar post-election trouble for Gagik Tsarukian’s Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK), saying that former President Robert Kocharian will try to gain direct control over the party after the vote. “Otherwise, if Kocharian does not take over the party, Serzh Sarkisian will not just take over the BHK, he will destroy it,” it says, adding that the Armenian president is already thinking about ensuring a smooth handover of power to a handpicked successor in 2018.
Interviewed by “Hraparak,” Hrant Bagratian, a former prime minister affiliated with the HAK, acknowledges a lack of unity in Levon Ter-Petrosian’s bloc. “Issues are becoming increasingly concrete and we see differences in [HAK] parties’ approaches,” he says. “The HAK needs a restart. This existing form of leadership and coordination does not allow us to attract a larger following. Quite the opposite.”
“168 Zham” says that at $98 million, the combined wealth of BHK parliamentarians is more than twice larger than the total declared assets of their colleagues from the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK). “Of course, this does not mean that the Republicans have less wealth or that the BHK deputies were more honest when filing income declarations,” comments the paper. “It’s just that the Republicans … declared as much as they wanted to. And perhaps the BHK deputies were a bit more cautious. But that’s not what matters. What matters is that for the first time a party acting on an opposition platform in Armenia is either wealthier than the government or has as much assets as the authorities.” The paper says this fact puts the BHK in a position to seriously challenge President Sarkisian in the upcoming election.
Artak Davtian, the HHK-affiliated chairman of the Armenian parliament’s standing committee on science, education and youth affairs, tells “Irates de facto” that the ruling party has certain “expectations” from the BHK ahead of the election. Davtian also says that Robert Kocharian is “prudent and experienced” enough to refrain from returning to active politics during the presidential race.