“Hayots Ashkhar” finds “interesting” the fact that the Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK), the Armenian National Congress (HAK) and the Zharangutyun (Heritage) party will begin this week a series of regional rallies from Abovian, a town near Yerevan and a stronghold of BHK leader Gagik Tsarukian. “It is no secret that Gagik Tsarukian has comparably more supporters there due to a number of factors,” writes the pro-government paper. “At least, they will find it easier to bring many people to the rally in Abovian … The [opposition] trio simply needs a big rally for propaganda purposes. And what better way to do that than on its home turf? On the other hand, it’s not hard to guess that starting [the campaign] from Abovian was the BHK’s proposal and wish. Tsarukian can vividly show his partners there which of the three parties is the most important one and more equal than the others.”
Gagik Ghambarian, a Gyumri-based political scientist and historian, tells “Haykakan Zhamanak” that despite their joint actions the three parties still have major differences. “For instance, the Zharangutyun party is categorically against Armenia’s membership in the [Russian-led] Customs Union, whereas the BHK is in favor,” argues Ghambarian. He also dismisses as “utopia” a list of 12 demands which the three parties and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) issued to the government in June. “They should concentrate on two or three issues, present more concrete demands to the authorities, and use those demands to get the people to the streets,” he says.
“Zhamanak” reports that Dashnaktsutyun leaders and President Serzh Sarkisian will open talks on constitutional reforms planned by him after his return from the United States early next month. The paper says that Dashnaktsutyun needs the talks to save face after refusing to join the October 10 rally in Yerevan planned by the three other opposition parties.
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” says that Sarkisian has made a habit of papering over grave challenges facing Armenia. In particular, the paper says, for two years Sarkisian’s government concealed and denied a sharp rise in the price of Russian natural gas delivered to Armenia. “The situation is similar now in the process of Armenia’s accession to the Eurasian Economic Union,” it says. Economy Minister Karen Chshmaritian stated in late July that the union’s member states have agreed to exempt more than 800 types of goods imported to Armenia from their higher customs duties. In fact, the opposition claims, the EEU has only agreed to a “transitional period” for Armenia’s membership.