“In effect, after the death of Andranik Markarian the scenario drawn up in the government is being somewhat violated,” comments “Hayk.” “Some developments will occur prematurely. It was expected that Serzh Sarkisian will serve as Armenia’s prime minister during the period between the National Assembly elections and the 2008 presidential elections. Andranik Markarian’s death accelerated his appointment. Serzh Sarkisian, who wants to become president, will now do everything to earn his party a majority [in the National Assembly.]”
The HHK will have to resort to much more vote rigging that was planned,” alleges “Hayk.” “But it is evident that nobody will let the HHK do extra vote rigging seeing as that would primarily hurt other pro-government parties and Kocharian’s power base, the BHK, in the first instance.”
“It can be said for certain that after Andranik Markarian’s death the number of real Republicans will shrink and the role of functionaries will grow,” “Aravot” says in an editorial. “Let us hope that the real Republicans will remain in the [party’s] proportional list. However, it is already dominated by opportunists. Namely, those who joined the HHK on Serzh Sarkisian’s orders.” The paper also predicts that the HHK will lose many of its “sincere supporters” as a result.
According to “Taregir,” Markarian’s death will deepen differences between the “criminal and ideological wings” of the HHK as well as the Republicans and Gagik Tsarukian’s BHK. “The balance of forces here will be in the BHK’s favor because regardless of everything, Andranik Markarian did enjoy a certain degree of public sympathy, and the number of possible objectives votes for the HHK will fall considerably,” says the paper.
“Hayots Ashkhar” looks at the “endless political comeback” of former President Levon Ter-Petrosian. “The latest statements made by HHSh leaders on behalf of Ter-Petrosian suggest that the former president intends to participate in the 2008 presidential elections in one way or another. The prospect of Ter-Petrosian becoming more active could be beneficial to those external forces that are already taking some steps to turn the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict into a kind of trap for the current government,” the paper says, pointing to what it considers pro-Azerbaijani statements made by the U.S. State Departments of late. It claims that Ter-Petrosian is not averse to capitalizing on Western pressure on Yerevan.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports on growing rumors that Lieutenant-General Seyran Ohanian, commander of the Nagorno-Karabakh Defense Army, is to be appointed Armenia’s defense minister. The paper notes that the rumors began circulating in Karabakh even before Andranik Markarian’s death. “According to our information, Ohanian was told that there are several posts in the Defense Ministry system, one of which he will definitely get, and that the post of defense minister is the most likely of them,” it says.