“Zhamanak” suggests that Armenia’s leadership will be contesting the 2012 parliamentary elections and possibly the presidential election of 2013 “in a fairly broad-based coalition with numerous figures.” In an editorial, the paper also claims that the authorities will support the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) to steal votes from more radical opposition groups like the Armenian National Congress (HAK). “It is possible that there will be some cosmetic repressions [against Dashnaktsutyun members] in order to make Dashnaktsutyun’s being in opposition as convincing as possible” it speculates. The pro-HAK daily says the authorities could also lend covert support to Raffi Hovannisian’s Zharangutyun party in order to prevent him from joining forces with the HAK.
“Hayots Ashkhar” says that January has traditionally been “a period of European expectations” for the radical Armenian opposition, which has been pressing the Council of Europe to exert stronger pressure on the Armenian authorities. “Since their old expectations were not lived up to, they have been shifted to this January,” says the pro-presidential daily. It says claims disapprovingly that the HAK and its top leader, Levon Ter-Petrosian, want “very strict sanctions” against Armenia, including its ouster from the Council of Europe.
“Iravunk” says that the HAK is losing its “monopoly on decrying the closure of an electronic media outlet,” pointing to the authorities’ decision to pull the plug on the private ALM television. “That will certainly not contribute, to say the least, to a rise in the Congress’ approval rating because it no longer has the trump card of press freedom violation,” writes the paper. “Within the Congress itself, there are unfolding processes leading to rifts. There is no lack of ambitious figures there, and many of them realize that Levon Ter-Petrosian is effectively exhausting his leadership potential.”
Gurgen Yeghiazarian, an opposition politician affiliated with the HAK, tells “Aravot” that Armenia’s governing coalition will likely fall apart soon. “According to my information, some individuals that are now in government periodically meet with [former] President Robert Kocharian and ask him to return [to active politics,]” claims Yeghiazarian. “If my information is true, then Robert Kocharian could return through two parties: Dashnaktsutyun or Prosperous Armenia.”
In an interview with “Hraparak,” Vartan Ghukasian, the controversial mayor of Gyumri, says that the central government has no reason or legal grounds to force him out of office. “I don’t know of a single case where they would tell an elected representative of the people, ‘You must go.’ Have you heard about such things?” says Ghukasian.