Armenian papers carry more reports about an imminent cabinet reshuffle in Yerevan. “Haykakan Zhamanak,” in particular, contends that the days of Minister for State Revenues Andranik Manukian are numbered.
But as “Hayots Ashkhar” notes, growing talk of new ministerial appointments is largely confined to newspaper pages and government corridors, while the public remains indifferent to them. Few people care who is likely to lose or get a top government position.
“Aravot” says that a new opposition alliance which could mount a serious challenge to the authorities is now in the making. The People’s Party of Armenia (HZhK), Hanrapetutyun, the newly formed National Democratic Party and the Communists are in talks lately over ways of joining their forces. They have already agreed on one key issue: Armenia’s transformation into a parliamentary republic, something which would mean significant curbs on President Kocharian’s authority.
The pro-government “Zhamanak” is strongly opposed to such a development, accusing the opposition parties of setting the stage for “yet another futile debate.” It says they fail to realize that Armenia’s transition to the parliamentary republic would bring political instability. Sweeping powers vested in the office of the president is not the root of problems facing Armenia. Besides, the system of governance will makes no difference when there is “no respect for the state” on the part of the population.
“Golos Armenii” says that while the past year has seen certain improvements in the overall situation in the country, the dominant “feeling of desperation” lingers on. Most Armenians are still convinced that they can not change their government or make it work better. This apathy is the inevitable consequence of widespread incompetence among senior government officials.
“Hayots Ashkhar” writes that Stepan Demirchian has finished the “coup” inside the HZhK by purging it of his late father’s comrades-in-arms. Demirchian ditched them because they would not let him go beyond “the framework of balanced, prudent and realistic policies” set by the HZhK founder, Karen Demirchian. The HZhK’s governing board is now dominated by persons with “extreme” views and a penchant for political intrigues and shady deals.
“Azg” says the HZhK “can not find its place in the political arena” because of a total lack of consistency and principles. The party’s last congress did nothing to change the situation, which is why one should expect the HZhK to stick to its “amorphous” structure and policy.