“The bubble would have burst sooner or later,” “Hayots Ashkhar” says in a commentary on the growing differences inside the Armenian opposition. The paper claims that the leaders of the three main opposition parties agreed last September a power-sharing agreement that would go into force in the event of their victory in the power struggle with President Kocharian. HZhK leader Stepan Demirchian would become parliament speaker, Hanrapetutyun’s Aram Sarkisian would regain the post of prime minister, while the presidency was reserved for National Unity leader Artashes Geghamian.
“Geghamian is an old Komsomol cadre who can sniff out what steps will contribute to his career as much as possible,” writes “Iravunk.” The most recent opposition rally showed that the HZhK and Hanrapetutyun are able to draw large crowds to the street, while Geghamian can only bring in small groups of “people carrying posters glorifying him.” Geghamian joined forces with the two parties in the hope of imposing his will upon them. But since this did not work he “very quickly changed his tactics and all but burned bridges of cooperation with his allies.” The paper says Geghamian thereby sent a signal to the authorities about his willingness to change sides.
“Aravot” predicts that Armenia and the other CIS nations will not see a change of leadership through democratic elections in the next 30 years. Elections have been used by ruling regimes there for legitimizing military and palace coups.
Military police chief Vladimir Gasparian assures “Haykakan Zhamanak” that none of Armenia’s present leaders was behind the October 1999 shootings in the parliament. Gasparian, who was a close friend of Vazgen Sarkisian, says he will “smash the heads” of all those who will dare to suggest that he is now aligned with possible assassins of the late prime minister. The paper terms “sensational” Gasparian’s revelation that he was present at the meeting between Kocharian and the leader of the parliament gunmen, Nairi Hunanian, on the night from October 27 to 28, 1999. “Nothing special” happened there, according to Gasparian.
Levon Mkrtchian’s appointment as minister of education and science is interpreted by most papers as another boost to the pro-Kocharian Dashnaktsutyun party. Dashnaktsutyun leader Armen Rustamian tells “Zhamanak” that the party is ready to step up its cooperation with the authorities.
“Azg” reports that the three co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, due in Azerbaijan on Saturday, are scheduled to proceed to Nagorno-Karabakh on Monday. Karabakh Foreign Minister Naira Melkumian says they are unlikely to bring new peace proposals. They are now more preoccupied with “aggressive bellicose statements” by Azerbaijani leaders recently, according to Melkumian. She warns that renewed fighting would be tantamount to a “suicide” for Azerbaijan. “A new war would drive a new wave of refugees towards the Azerbaijani capital,” she says.