“Zhamanak” says the key question in Armenian politics now is how the four main opposition parties will act following Hovik Abrahamian’s appointment as prime minister. The paper suggests that they will have to postpone their joint offensive against President Serzh Sarkisian by several months as they need some time to judge the new Armenian government. Abrahamian’s ties with the leader of the biggest of those parties, Gagik Tsarukian, are another important factor, it says, adding that the opposition forces now seem to have trouble agreeing on a new plan of actions.
Interviewed by “Hayots Ashkhar,” Galust Sahakian, the parliamentary leader of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK), dismisses suggestions that with Abrahamian’s appointment President Sarkisian hoped to lure Tsarukian’s Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) back into the government but failed in that endeavor. Sahakian says the authorities are simply keen to make the government as inclusive and broad-based as possible. “Let us not link the BHK with Hovik Abrahamian so much,” he says, arguing that the BHK was critical of the government even when Abrahamian served as parliament speaker. “I don’t think that anything has changed in that regard,” adds Sahakian.
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” says Abrahamian is trying to buy off the BHK and other major political groups with government posts. The pro-opposition paper believes that this tactic will not work. “The country is in serious trouble and can come out of this situation only with radical changes,” it says. “You can’t effect radical changes by having everyone cozy up to each other.”
“Zhoghovurd” believes that the main purpose of Abrahamian’s appointment was to make Tsarukian’s party “controllable” for Sarkisian. “But since the BHK is not caving in yet or Abrahamian is not making sufficient efforts to convince his in-law [Tsarukian,] they are circulating a threat to block the new government’s endorsement by the National Assembly,” writes the paper. Hence, it says, unfolding speculation about the Orinats Yerkir Party’s possible decision to leave the executive. “If the BHK remains adamant, Orinats Yerkir will be replaced in the governing coalition by the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun),” claims the paper.
Citing data from the national gas distribution company, “Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that consumption of natural gas by Armenian households fell by over 3 percent in the first quarter of this year despite a colder weather. The paper attributes the drop to last July’s sharp rise in the retail price of gas supplied by Russia’s Gazprom monopoly.