“It is already evident that the OSCE Minsk Group is no longer willing to organize fruitless meetings between Ilham Aliev and Robert Kocharian and is changing both the format and the content of the settlement process,” writes “Zhamanak Yerevan.” “To put it simply, the publics in Armenia and Azerbaijan are given a choice: either to adapt to the mentality of the regimes not accountable to them or to create social demand in peace.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that Prime Minister Andranik Markarian underwent surgery on his foot veins in France on Wednesday. “According to our information, the operation was successful and the prime minister will return to Armenia on July 3,” says the paper. “Markarian is accompanied in France by Finance and Economy Minister Vartan Khachatrian.”
“Aravot” says that the latest influx of wealthy and influential individuals into Markarian’s Republican Party (HHK) means that it “will have sufficient material and administrative resources to form a single-party parliament” as a result of the 2007 elections. But, says the paper, the authorities will let a few other parties get a small number of parliament seats in order to placate the Council of Europe. “But it is obvious that the Republicans will have an absolute majority in the parliament and there will not need any coalitions.” The paper believes that the HHK derives its strength not from its nationalist ideology but the “daft, narrow-minded and corrupt bureaucracy which consists of officials devoid of any ideology and entrepreneurs.”
“Iravunk” reports that Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian’s controversial brother Aleksandr left for the United States more than two weeks ago. “According to a source close to the Republican Party, his absence will probably be quite long because now that Serzh Sarkisian and the Republican Party have started their pre-election campaign Sashik Sarkisian’s unpredictable deeds might create problems for a pre-election alliance gaining momentum and trying to look as civilized as possible,” says the paper. “According to our source, it is Serzh Sarkisian who urged his brother to be absent from the republic for a long time and thus stay away from trouble.”
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” claims that the Armenian Central Bank has launched a “meticulous” financial inspection of one of Armenia’s biggest commercial banks, Converse, in order to force its government-connected owners to sell it Kocharian’s elder son Sedrak.