(Saturday, February 21)
“Haykakan Zhamanak” argues that the so-called “trio of non-governing forces”, including the Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK), the Armenian National Congress (HAK) and Heritage, has turned out to be an alliance that capitulated the quickest in the history of independent Armenia: “Once again a group of politicians got together and each of them waited for someone else to get killed and trampled over so that they could later enjoy the fruits of the revolution. But when the time came for decisive action it turned out that no one wanted to be in the first ranks. These people should have known that in Armenia authorities use all their instruments when their power is at stake and that since 1996 [President] Serzh Sarkisian has personally been involved in all government actions aimed at retaining power.”
Analyzing the possible scenarios after the recent internal political developments, “Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” suggests that President Sarkisian and his ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK), as the winning party in the latest standoff with the BHK and its leader Gagik Tsarukian, will now be dictating their terms, which means that they will certainly not abandon their main strategy – the constitutional reform. “By and large, Sarkisian’s unleashing this “war” pursued this very goal and no doubt in the very near future he will officially announce his intention to carry out the constitutional reform. The rest, as they say, is a matter of technique. They will get the percentage [of approval] at a referendum, then will win at parliamentary elections with an even larger margin and after his second and final presidential term ends Sarkisian will become parliament speaker, while the current stagnant situation will last.”
Analyzing the exchange of “open letters” between former president Levon Ter-Petrosian, who currently heads the HAK, and the current head of state, Sarkisian, “Zhoghovurd” suggests that by his reply Sarkisian made it clear that he understands that Ter-Petrosian does not care as much about the “pan-Armenian declaration on the genocide centennial” as other political issues. “Sarkisian, in fact, said: leave the declaration alone, but if you want to meet me and if you can offer a good political “product” for sale, I don’t mind because I might be buying it,” the paper suggests.
“Hraparak” addresses a number of questions to Sarkisian in the wake of his recent showdown with Tsarukian: “Will the process of “political clean-up” continue or it was only Tsarukian who hindered the honest and quality political life in Armenia?... Will the issue of absenteeism of other lawmakers be also raised or it will apply only to the lawmakers who show their disobedience? Will the practice of calling political opponents by their nicknames and reminding them of the “dark pages” of their biographies continue or these methods will be used only against those whom the government wants to oust from politics? Will criticizing the government over planned constitutional changes become a taboo or only those who will try to foil the reform will be punished?”
“Zhamanak” reports that a bill from last fall on “the government crisis” may be put on the agenda of the parliament session commencing on Monday. It says that when the draft resolution was first proposed by the three opposition factions known as the trio they thought that the government crisis should be solved by means of changing the government: “Meanwhile, it has become clear that the crisis is not so much about the government as about the opposition itself. Now it is the right time to discuss ways of overcoming the deep and comprehensive crisis that has emerged in the opposition field.”