“Haykakan Zhamanak” claims that President Kocharian “wants to have a weak chairman of the National Assembly” and is strongly opposed to Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian’s appointment to that post. “This approach is very natural,” the paper speculates. “After the last parliamentary elections differences between Serzh Sarkisian and Robert Kocharian have reached their climax. And Kocharian wants to see the incumbent defense minister in a position where supporting [the president] will be vital for the latter.” As for the parliament, Kocharian wants to install a speaker like Armen Khachatrian who commands little influence among the deputies. Hence, his choice of Orinats Yerkir’s Artur Baghdasarian.
“The current president is well aware that Baghdasarian’s candidacy is the least desirable for the great majority of deputies, and if the latter nonetheless becomes parliament speaker that will mean it happened solely due to Kocharian’s insistence,” “Haykakan Zhamanak” continues. On the other hand, the paper says, a weak parliament would be “fatal” for Prime Minister Andranik Markarian.
“The situation has never been so complicated and unpredictable,” comments “Ayb-Fe.” “It is difficult, from the political and economic standpoint, to snatch the post of prime minister from Andranik Markarian. There could be no justification [for that]. According to official data, Markarian’s government has registered unprecedented economic indicators. There is only one way of taking prime ministerial duties away from Markarian: if he is given the post of National Assembly chairman as a compensation.” The paper claims at the same time that there is little Markarian could do to prevent Baghdasarian from becoming speaker if Kocharian really wishes so. “In any case, the regime will be as diverse as never before. Armenian experience shows that such a situation is unlikely to last long. In the shadow struggle of influential clans, one of the parties will gradually concentrate entire power in its hands.”
“It is obvious that political forces that have entered the parliament are unable to reach political consensus,” agrees “Hayots Ashkhar.” “We are witnessing a clash of individual ambitions…But even more dangerous are the parties’ ambitions.” The paper says even if they reach a power-sharing deal there will be no stable majority in the parliament with a common program. This fact set the stage for a more tense “tussle for posts.” The new parliament has already demonstrated that it is unable to perform its constitutional duties, “Hayots Ashkhar” concludes.
“Aravot” says it would be “naïve” to think that the price of bread in Armenia has soared because the ruling elite is trying to recoup its huge expenditures on the election campaign. “That will happen a little later, in a coordinated fashion,” the paper says. “And it will hit our pockets much harder. After the government’s composition is finally decided, after the spheres of political and economic influence are divided we will very much regret the vote bribes accepted by us.”