(Saturday, May 13)
“168 Zham” reports that Education Minister Sergo Yeritsian, one of the founding members of the Orinats Yerkir, has also retained his government post in return for defecting from the party led by Artur Baghdasarian. The paper says Yeritsian assured it on Friday morning that he will remain loyal to Baghdasarian and resign his post only to break his pledge a few hours later.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” confirms the information, noting that Yeritsian was the number two figure in the party. “Throughout yesterday he negotiated with the authorities over retaining his ministerial post in exchange for leaving Orinats Yerkir.” The paper says the authorities told him that “he can not stay on as minister but they will nonetheless give him another government job.”
“Azg” claims that the next speaker of the Armenian parliament will be none other than Prime Minister Andranik Markarian. The paper says the latter will in turn be replaced by Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian.
But as “Hayots Ashkhar reports, citing “well-informed sources,” the National Assembly will be headed by one of its current deputy speakers, Tigran Torosian. “Our sources insist that agreement on this has already been reached,” says the paper. “It is likely that the leader of the People’s Deputy group, Karen Karapetian, will be elected to the vacant post, while all 17 members of the group will effectively become part of the [governing] coalition.
“Aravot” reports that Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian skirted on Friday a question about whether he considers Baghdasarian’s resignation a personal victory. “I think you should put that question to Artur Baghdasarian,” Sarkisian is quoted as telling reporters. “For I don’t think that there is any rivalry between us.” Sarkisian added that Orinats Yerkir’s departure from the government was not “something extraordinary.”
Sarkisian also insisted that no parliament deputy or government minister was forced to leave Orinats Yerkir: “Those people are saying unanimously that nobody pressured them. The behavior of those people is understandable to me. They joined the party for a specific purpose … Now that force has disagreements with the authorities, the other [governing] parties. How should those people behave? Not all of them were ready to go into opposition. Not all of them believe that everything these authorities do is wrong.”
“You can’t be an important component of the executive and legislative branches, but at the same time pursue one policy in the government and act from diametrically opposite positions in the parliament,” writes “Hayots Ashkhar.” “Sometimes one got the impression that we have two Orinats Yerkirs.” The paper expects Orinats Yerkir to be even more critical of the government than Armenia’s largest opposition groups.
According to “168 Zham,” if Baghdasarian was a “really elected chairman of the National Assembly” he would put his resignation to the parliament vote and help to “expose the shadowy processes than preceded his resignation.”