“Zhamanak” says that with his readiness to run for president, which he expressed on Thursday, Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) leader Gagik Tsarukian staked a claim to being the top leader of the Armenian opposition. The paper says that this was deliberately done ahead of Friday’s rally in Yerevan organized by the BHK, the Armenian National Congress (HAK) and the Zharangutyun party.
“Hraparak” says Tsarukian’s statement is a welcome development in the sense that it brought more clarity to the political scene. The paper says that he thereby implied that “this time he is not going to backpedal and abandon a presidential bid as a result of behind-the-scenes agreements.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” says that Friday’s rally will take place in the absence of President Serzh Sarkisian and Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamian from Armenia. Sarkisian is visiting Minsk for a summit of ex-Soviet statements, while Abrahamian is in Washington to attend annual meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. The paper says their absence is construed by some observers as a sign of their belief that the opposition is posing no serious threat to their hold on power.
“Aravot” is alarmed by Sarkisian’s plans to sign an accession treaty with the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), saying that membership in the Russian-led bloc will hardly earn Armenia significant security or economic benefits. The paper also points out that the EEU’s three member states -- Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan -- are “not keeping up with the contemporary world” and “on many issues are much more backward than our country.” It complains that “none of our political forces has the courage to say that joining the Eurasian Economic Union is wrong.”
“Hayots Ashkhar” carries an interview with Hermine Naghdalian, a deputy speaker of the Armenian parliament and the head of the Armenian delegation at the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly (PACE). Naghdalian brushes aside media reports saying that she is to blame, in large measure, for the PACE’s decision last week to appoint a reputedly pro-Azerbaijani rapporteur on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. She says that she and other Armenian members of the PACE worked hard to try to thwart the development and increase the number of European parliamentarians sympathetic to Armenia. She also implicitly accuses PACE members voting for pro-Azerbaijani measures of being bribed by Baku.