President Serzh Sarkisian’s unprecedented tirade against Gagik Tsarukian makes front-page headlines in Friday’s Armenian newspapers.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” says Sarkisian not only condemned Tsarukian’s political activities but also accused the Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) leader of tax evasion and other “crimes.” The paper says that the “most undesirable” scenario for Sarkisian now is a BHK decision to rally tens of thousands of supporters in Yerevan and demand his resignation. “If that party really aims to achieve regime change and pre-term elections it has to take such a decision,” it says.
“Zhamanak” says Sarkisian’s speech came as a “shock” given its unusually harsh personal attacks on Tsarukian. “This means that power struggle in Armenia is going to be quite fierce,” writes the paper.
“President Serzh Sarkisian’s speech heralded the end of the domestic political ceasefire,” editorializes “Aravot.” “The political struggle in the country will intensify.” The paper sees several good things in that escalation. “First of all, the political landscape will be rinsed. There is no [division into] ‘government’ and ‘non-government’ [camps] anymore. There is now government and opposition just like in all civilized countries.” The paper says that if Sarkisian is consistent enough he must also get rid of uneducated tycoons like Tsarukian existing in his own party.
“If Serzh Sarkisian really wants to clean up the political landscape then he must start from his entourage,” writes “Zhoghovurd.” “Sarkisian also acknowledged that he has for years sponsored or, in other words, nurtured Tsarukian. Sarkisian also reminded people of some tax evasions, some crime cover-ups and the creation of some secret system. It turns out that he has for years known about all that. But why has he taken so long to mention that now? In this regard Sarkisian’s remarks are a kind of confession of crimes.”
“The authorities have made clear that they will not allow anyone to talk to them from the position of force,” says “Hayots Ashkhar.” According to the pro-government paper, the key question now is to what extent Tsarukian and his party were “prepared for this turn of events.”
“Hraparak” says Sarkisian’s speech left the BHK with only two options. “It has to either leave the political arena or become a radical opposition force,” the paper says. “Both options are understandable.”