Armenian print media remain focused on the continuing standoff between President Serzh Sarkisian, the leader of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK), and tycoon Gagik Tsarukian, who leads the second largest parliamentary party, Prosperous Armenia (BHK), and has emerged as a top opponent of the current administration in recent months.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” suggests that for the time being the score in the Sarkisian v Tsarukian match may be equal as far as the declarations of intent are concerned. But, according to the newspaper, Sarkisian may be a little ahead in terms of his declaration of concrete moves. “He [Sarkisian] has clearly presented the steps that he is going to take against Tsarukian and, in fact, has already taken some of the declared action. Meanwhile, Tsarukian’s possible steps still need to be clarified.”
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” also analyzes the February 12 speech by Sarkisian, who effectively urged senior members of the HHK to oust BHK leader Tsarukian from politics, claiming that due to his “illiteracy” and “ignorance” the man is not up to the job of leading the country’s second largest political force. The paper compares Sarkisian to an Italian mafia boss who gathered members of his clan to explain that “a rival clan has crossed the line and the problem must be resolved.”
“168 Zham” challenges Sarkisian’s integrity on the basis of his statement that he postponed the signing of the constitutional reform at the request of Tsarukian. “If Tsarukian is a man of low intellectual abilities, why would his request in such an important matter be taken into consideration at all?” the paper queries.
“Hraparak” suggests that the situation is not new and that such accusations against the BHK and its leader have always been there. “It’s been happening for years. Everyone had been aware of that, but kept silent. Most importantly, however, Sarkisian himself had been silent. Now the situation has changed: the force that was once controllable has become rudderless and the danger has become real and tangible. It’s time to gather stones together,” it comments.
“Zhoghovurd” reports that Parliament Speaker Galust Sahakian has ordered an examination of the grounds justifying BHK leader Tsarukian’s being frequently absent from parliament sessions, after which, the paper says, he will submit the case to the Central Election Commission for the lawmaker to be stripped of his mandate. The author of the article cites his own “top ten” list of MPs known for their chronic absenteeism. The third on this list is Deputy Parliament Speaker Hermine Naghdalian, a senior member of President Sarkisian’s party.