“Zhamanak” comments on rumors about a bitter verbal exchange between Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) leader Gagik Tsarukian and Artur Baghdasarian of the pro-government Orinats Yerkir Party. The paper notes similarities between the two parties, saying that they have served as a “buffer between the authorities and the public” and stolen votes from the opposition at various times.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” says Tsarukian and Baghdasarian traded insults as they were about to greet President Serzh Sarkisian at Yerevan’s Zvartnots airport last week. The paper says the bust-up resulted from the fact that Baghdasarian became chairman of the Armenian Volleyball Federation several days earlier without the prior knowledge of Tsarukian, who heads the National Olympic Committee. It also says that unlike Baghdasarian, Tsarukian does not feel comfortable about being nominally part of the presidential entourage.
Davit Harutiunian, a senior pro-government lawmaker involved in constitutional reform planned by the Armenian president, tells “Aravot” that the authorities want to ease eligibility requirements for presidential candidates not for enabling Armen Sarkisian, the recently reappointed Armenian ambassador to Britain, to run for president in 2018. He claims that this change was first proposed recently by the Council of Europe and the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR). “But it doesn’t mean that we will definitely accept that proposal,” adds Harutiunian.
“Zhoghovurd” asks Artak Zakarian, another senior lawmaker from the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK), to comment on reports that Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian met with senior HHK figures at the weekend to discuss their objections to his government’s draft budget for next year. “There are no conflicts within the party,” says Zakarian. “There are approaches, which is why such discussions are organized. If everyone agrees with someone else by 100 percent there will be no need for discussions.” But he does not deny that some senior Republicans are pressing the government to promise more significant rises in public sector salaries.