(Saturday, July 14)
“Zhamanak” comments on a remark by a parliament deputy from the Ruling Republican Party (HHK) that the Armenian authorities would only welcome a consolidation of the country’s main opposition forces. The paper speculates that the authorities are interested in such a consolidation because they currently cannot keep the fragmented opposition under control. It claims that only Levon Ter-Petrosian’s Armenian National Congress (HAK) is now strongly influenced by the government through the Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK).
“I think that the more [the opposition forces] unite, the more normal events we will witness,” another senior HHK lawmaker, Galust Sahakian, tells “Hraparak,” when asked about the possibility of the HAK, the BHK and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) fielding a single presidential candidate. He says that the HHK is not afraid of facing that candidate.
“168 Zham” is struck by the “diligence with which the HAK is throwing itself into the BHK’s embrace.” The paper points out that the BHK leaders remain unimpressed by continuing overtures from Ter-Petrosian and other HAK figures. “At best, they are reacting to that with cold indifference,” it says. “Things have become so pathetic that HAK representatives led by Levon Ter-Petrosian themselves calculate the BHK’s and Gagik Tsarukian’s interests and enthusiastically get involved in the promotion of those interests without even seeming reciprocity.”
“Hayots Ashkhar” quotes a spokeswoman for Gyumri Mayor Vartan Ghukasian as saying that he will run for reelection in the September 9 mayoral election to be held in Armenia’s second largest city. Asked what Ghukasian will do if the ruling the HHK decides to back another candidate, she says, “The Gyumri mayor has never been guided by party decisions.” “This is an extremely peculiar approach, especially given that Gyumri Mayor is also a member of the HHK’s governing body, the Council,” comments the paper. “What is more, Ghukasian also heads the party’s regional branch, and in these circumstances the statement about his never being guided by party decisions sounds at least strange, if not pathetic.”
In an interview with “Aravot,” Alex Sardar, head of the Armenian branch of the U.S. group Counterpart International, expresses concern at the criminal investigation targeting the Civilitas Foundation set up by former Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian. “For us, unfair proceedings launched against one or another [non-governmental] organization are an indicator and a measure to understand what difficulties the sector may face [in Armenia,]” he says.