“Zhamanak” looks at political implications of the fact that the vast majority of parliament deputies from Gagik Tsarukian’s Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) voted on Tuesday for Galust Sahakian, the new speaker of the National Assembly handpicked by President Serzh Sarkisian. The paper says the BHK thus raised fresh questions about its declared de facto opposition to the Sarkisian administration.
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” downplays that fact, however, saying that the BHK leadership did not officially decide to back Sahakian. The pro-opposition paper believes that the speaker’s election is too insignificant an issue to influence continued cooperation between the BHK and established opposition forces, notably the Armenian National Congress (HAK). It says the key question now is whether they will agree to campaign for President Sarkisian’s resignation. “If they do, it will be great. If not, the HAK will try to single-handedly consolidate the society around this objective,” adds the pro-HAK daily.
“Zhoghovurd” notes that by appointing well-known “cadres” of his predecessor Robert Kocharian as ministers of economy and urban development Sarkisian is seeking to either to achieve Kocharian-era economic growth rates or to simply demonstrate that even the ex-president’s “team” is not capable of improving the economic situation. The paper sees a win-win situation for the current president, saying that he will be able to claim credit even if the new government manages to improve Armenia’s macroeconomic performance.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” comments on another cabinet member, Finance Minister Gagik Khachatrian, who until now headed Armenia’s State Revenue Committee (SRC). Citing unnamed officials, the paper reports that the Finance Ministry building in Yerevan is already “packed” with Khachatrian’s bodyguards. “The latter are monitoring all movements of ministry employees in the corridors, often enter their offices, take investigative looks and so on,” it says. “The new minister’s communication with ministry officials is carried out through the bodyguards. Staffers also emphasize that the bodyguards behave in an ‘appropriate’ manner: with shouts and peculiar jokes. This situation in the Finance Ministry has simply startled staffers.”
“Hraparak” says that Sarkisian sent a message to the Russian-led Customs Union with his unexpected absence from Tuesday’s summit of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. “For a second time Armenia shunned a Customs Union meeting,” the paper says, wondering if Yerevan is having second thoughts about joining the bloc.