(Saturday, December 24)
“Zhamanak” believes that President Serzh Sarkisian and opposition leader Levon Ter-Petrosian have jointly “neutralized the influence of the Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) on the political process within a short period of time.” The paper says that up until recently BHK leader Gagik Tsarukian was “scoring points thanks to Ter-Petrosian’s and Sarkisian’s failures.” “Ter-Petrosian and Sarkisian relatively quickly realized that situation and with joint actions managed to neutralize Tsarukian’s beneficial arbitration,” it says in an editorial. “They simply drew him into the game.” Ter-Petrosian did so by offering a deal to the BHK while the president ratcheted up “internal pressure” on Tsarukian, says the paper.
“The [Armenian National] Congress has never stated that the authorities will rig the elections,” writes “Chorrord Inknishkhanutyun.” “The Congress insists that the authorities will try to rig them. There is a very big difference [between the two statements.] Why? Because saying beforehand that the elections will definitely be rigged would have meant indirectly calling on people not to participate in the elections.” The pro-HAK paper claims that it is the authorities that are trying to convince Armenians that their victory in the May 2012 polls is a forgone conclusion.
Aram Manukian, the chairman of the Armenian Pan-National Movement (HHSh) party, a key member of the HAK, assures “Yerkir” that early elections are still possible in Armenia. “The sooner regime change happens the better for the country,” he says. Manukian claims that there is deepening discord within the country’s leadership and it will have “sharp manifestations” in February. “There will also be socioeconomic tension. It will come to a head next spring,” he adds. “You are wrong to think that our sympathizers are not realists and don’t see difficulties.”
Meanwhile, the HHSh’s former chairman, Ararat Zurabian, rebuts scathing attacks from some senior Ter-Petrosian associates in an interview with “Aravot.” Zurabian says that the HAK has no moral right to accuse its former members of cooperating with foreign states because its main “liaison officer” in Russia, Smbat Karakhanian, is a secret agent of Russian security services. “If they want to continue down this path I think they won’t achieve anything beneficial for them,” he warns the HAK leadership.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” says that post-election protests in Russia have surprised many in Armenia. “It’s still hard to tell what consequence this will have for Russia,” editorializes the paper. “This is the most delicate moment for political leadership.” The paper says that the challenge for the Russian leadership is to stop ignoring “obvious facts” about the state of affairs in the country.