In an interview with “Kapital,” political analyst Richard Giragosian welcomes high-level personnel changes in Armenia’s government that were made by President Serzh Sarkisian last month. “Of course, the results of that won’t be immediately visible, but the changes made by the president gave hope and raised public expectations,” he says. “It is also important to note that the resignation of Yerevan’s mayor was a message to the effect that a particular type of conduct is not acceptable anymore. All this is certainly not enough and more needs to done in order to achieve results. But such steps help the Armenian government move forward.” Armenian oligarchs, claims Giragosian, “have realized that their time is coming to an end.”
But “Chorrord Inknishkhanutyun” sees only “an imitation of the fight against corruption and meaningless cadre changes,” saying that they are aimed at creating a positive image for Sarkisian’s Republican Party ahead of the next elections. The paper says Levon Ter-Petrosian’s Armenian National Congress (HAK) will be their main opposition contender. It claims that other opposition groups play into the regime’s changes. “And the authorities are very well exploiting that without informing the latter,” it says.
“Zhamanak” expects the Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) to send “certain signals to the public and the political field” at its congress scheduled for February 12. The paper says the BHK should specifically clarify its pre-election strategy. “For the time being, the Prosperous Armenia Party is more or less a factor in the political arena,” it says. “A section of the society is Prosperous Armenia’s electorate. Add to that Prosperous Armenia’s economic capital, and you will get a force with which the authorities can not fail to reckon. This is an opportunity for Prosperous Armenia to talk to the Republican Party from the position of force in the parliamentary elections.” The paper says the BHK will “neutralize” itself if it endorses Serzh Sarkisian’s 2013 reelection bid before the legislative polls.
Arman Grigorian, the HAK’s representative to the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly (PACE), assures “Haykakan Zhamanak” that the release of “political prisoners” will likely continue in the coming months. Grigorian says the process has slowed because the authorities want to “present the release of every political prisoner as a concession and progress.” He predicts that more jailed oppositionists will be freed ahead of the upcoming visit to Yerevan by Thomas Hammarberg, the Council of Europe’s top human rights official.