“168 Zham” predicts that at its March 5 “extraordinary” convention the embattled Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) is going to find ways of ending the situation in which it found itself after a showdown with the government. “The most intriguing part is, of course, the question regarding [BHK leader] Gagik Tsarukian’s fate. Will he remain leader of the party or will become honorary BHK chairman, in fact quitting politics? Political circles consider the second option to be more likely,” the paper writes, observing that the government seeks to turn the BHK into a “fully controllable” party that may still have an opposition stance, though.
“Zhamanak” laughs at Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamian’s statement made during a question-and-answer session in parliament on Wednesday that he does not have any businesses. Abrahamian said that while addressing plans to set up a new council to fight government corruption. “Such statements of senior Armenian officials are the best answer to the question on how the new council will be fighting corruption. It will not fight corruption in any way, because for the government it amounts to suicide. In Armenia such bodies are formed not for fighting, but for one purpose – to find safe ‘packaging options’ for corruption.”
“Hraparak” also comments on Prime Minister Abrahamian’s statement, noting: “When the prime minister says he has no business interests he sounds so convincing that one all but starts to believe that this innocent man indeed has no businesses and we, evil Armenians, have defamed his character for years. Although it is not ruled out that the prime minister simply means that he has no businesses registered by his name, while on paper it is owned by his son, brother, wife or friends. And he will enjoy this status as long as he stays in the line. But the moment he tries to contradict his party’s policy and show disobedience it will turn out that there are various “unverified reports” implicating him in tax evasion and other illegal practices and the state machine will start checking the veracity of the reports.”