"Aravot" comments sarcastically on independent Armenia's first-ever official celebration of May Day. " This may mean: a) We at last have such a large number of workers that they can't imagine their lives without this holiday; b) It is the right time for those workers to get together and participate in the May Day rally." They should also thank their government for creating new jobs and slam the opposition for stirring trouble.
Turning to more down-to-earth affairs, "Aravot" looks at the possible "marriage" between the Republican Party and (HHK) the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) in advance of next year's parliamentary elections. "The presidential system of government requires a clear division of forces into those supporting and opposing the incumbent president; a certain consolidation of pro-presidential forces," the paper says in an editorial. It says President Kocharian is keenly interested in a pre-election alliance of the two parties. He is ready to offer their leaders more lucrative posts in the government.
The main obstacle to the creation of such an alliance, according to "Aravot," is strong objections voiced by many rank-and-file members of Dashnaktsutyun. Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian, who "impedes Dashnaktsutyun's full entry into the executive," is also likely to be against the idea. "If the HHK-Dashnaktsutyun bloc does come into existence we will see an altered version of the 1995 Republic and the 1999 Miasnutyun [blocs] with all consequences stemming from that."
"Azg" says it is too early to say whether the 13 opposition parties campaigning against Kocharian will manage to field a joint candidate for the presidential election of 2003. The fact is that their positions on key issues facing the country differ widely.
"Hayots Ashkhar" is satisfied with the "quite peaceful" course of Tuesday's congress of the Yerkrapah Union.
But as "Haykakan Zhamanak" writes, the mother of the late Vazgen Sarkisian shattered the scenario written by Yerkrapah's pro-Kocharian leadership. Interestingly, Greta Sarkisian's strongly-worded speech was greeted with applause.
"Aravot" reports that Mushegh Saghatelian, Armenia's former prison chief who is currently tried on a string of various charges, was reelected to the Yerkrapah board. The overwhelming majority of the congress delegates, including Prime Minister Andranik Markarian, thus voiced their solidarity with the man who has openly accused Kocharian and Serzh Sarkisian of orchestrating the October 1999 shootings in the parliament.
According to "Haykakan Zhamanak," this fact shows that Yerkrapah is torn apart between two conflicting approaches. It also exposes "the miserable state" of that organization.