(Saturday, September 15)
“Zhoghovurd” reports on a newly disclosed U.S. court ruling ordering Armenia’s former Environment Minister Vartan Ayvazian to pay a U.S. gold mining company about $38 million in damages because of his allegedly corrupt practices. The company, Global Gold, claims to have lost one of its operating licenses in Armenia because of a massive kickback allegedly demanded by Ayvazian.
“Hayots Ashkhar” reports that a representative of the Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) was present at a demonstration that was held by the opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK) outside the Office of the Prosecutor-General on Friday in protest against the imprisonment of young HAK activists. The paper suggests that this fact will have serious implications for continued cooperation between the BHK and the HAK.
“Hraparak” says HAK supporters hope that the bloc’s leadership will clarify on September 21 its participation in the February 2013 presidential election. The paper explains that HAK leader Levon Ter-Petrosian effectively announced his return to politics on September 21, 2007, during an event marking the anniversary of Armenia’s declaration of independence from the Soviet Union. It says a lot changed since then. Many prominent opposition figures are no longer part of Ter-Petrosian’s movement. “Five years on, Ter-Petrosian is essentially faced with the same problem,” it says. “And unlike in 2007, they now say that he has not yet made a decision.” The paper notes in that regard that the HAK is in no rush to hold fresh rallies in Yerevan.
In an interview with “168 Zham,” Hmayak Hovannisian, a politician and pundit, the challenge facing the BHK now is to retain voter support that Gagik Tsarukian’s party received in the May 6 parliamentary elections. “For the BHK, the game played with the opposition is not an end in itself,” he says. “Using the opposition as a tool, they want to exert pressure on the [ruling] HHK in order to clinch concessions from the president of Armenia, as they did in the local elections. The BHK is using the HAK as a lever to get benefits from the HHK and Serzh Sarkisian.” Hovannisian also claims that the BHK’s supreme goal now is to get hold of the post of prime minister.
“Zhamanak” quotes BHK spokesman Tigran Urikhanian as not denying such political ambitions. “The BHK is ready to take over full or partial governance … if there is sufficient popular support for that,” Urikhanian tells the paper.