“Haykakan Zhamanak” looks at political implications of the November 26 congress of President Serzh Sarkisian’s Republican Party of Armenia (HHK). The paper is unconvinced by HHK claims that the gathering, which reelected Sarkisian as party chairman, will breathe a new life into the HHK and ultimately benefit Armenia as a whole. It downplays the election of Prime Minister Karen Karapetian and several relatively young figures to the HHK’s governing board and says that the congress delegates’ unanimous approvals of all decisions made by the party leadership highlighted the “Communist spirit” of the organization. The Soviet Union’s Communist Party held its conventions in a very similar fashion, it says.
“168 Zham” says that Sarkisian and other speakers at the congress gave the impression that they consider the HHK’s victory in the 2017 parliamentary elections a forgone conclusion. The paper says that for the HHK leaders that is not only a “propaganda ploy” but also their mindset. They are intent on winning the elections at any cost, it says.
“Hraparak” points to a virtual absence of self-criticism in speeches delivered at the HHK convention, saying that Sarkisian “has stopped noticing mistakes” committed by him and his political allies. He only deplored scandalous public statements periodically made by HHK lawmakers and other politicians. As the paper points out, he made no mention of reputedly corrupt officials or businesspeople affiliated with the HHK. “Are they affiliated with another party?” it asks sarcastically.
“Zhamanak” attacks economy-related parts of Sarkisian’s speech, calling them a “primitive manipulation of statistics” which will not help to address Armenia’s problems. “It would at least take a frank conversation with the society, aimed at securing its backing, to overcome those ills,” writes the paper. “Nobody can eliminate systemic problems without strong popular support. Instead of considering the public a partner, Serzh Sarkisian regards it as a brainless audience which should trust in Serzh Sarkisian’s speeches, rather than its own experiences.”