“168 Zham” speculates that President Serzh Sarkisian may be using the issue of constitutional reform to prevent uncertainty within his political team over who will succeed him as president in 2018. “In that sense, the authorities would only benefit from the absence of consensus [among Armenia’s leading parties] and drag out that process as much as possible,” writes the paper. “After all, we must not forget that President Serzh Sarkisian has stated that he personally is against the parliamentary form of governance. So it would appear that the opposition forces are fighting against something which is not backed by Serzh Sarkisian.”
“Zhoghovurd” sees deepening differences between Raffi Hovannisian’s Zharangutyun party and its two opposition allies, Levon Ter-Petrosian’s HAK and Gagik Tsarukian’s BHK. The paper notes that Hovannisian was publicly chided by Ter-Petrosian during last week’s rally in Yerevan after he denounced Armenia’s accession to the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU). “And no matter how much Hovannisian insists that he was not offended by Ter-Petrosian’s characterizations, it is obvious that the HAK’s relationship with Zharangutyun has not warmed as a result,” it says. The paper also points out that some senior Zharangutyun figures, notably Zaruhi Postanjian, are publicly lambasting the HAK and Ter-Petrosian in particular.
“Hayots Ashkhar” says that it is critical for Armenia to maintain its “traditionally friendly relations with the Western community” after joining the Russian-led EEU. “Obviously, achieving this objective is not an easy task at the moment given EEU architect Russia’s strained relations leading European nations and especially the United States,” writes the paper. “But on closer inspection, it is not hard to conclude that our country simply has no other option.” It notes that Western powers have until now understood the importance for Armenia of having close military and political ties with Russia.
“Aravot” accuses law-enforcement authorities of seeking to cover up recent attacks on three journalists and denounces Armenian courts for ordering two media outlets to disclose sources of their reports implicating a senior police officer in an assault. In a commentary on the state of press freedom in the country, the paper says at the same time that there is now much more pluralism and diversity in the Armenian media landscape than in the past. It argues that the opposition BHK, Armenian Revolutionary Federation and Orinats Yerkir party control TV stations which they can use for criticizing the government.