Speaker's departure signals redistribution of political forces -
Armenian paper

Hayots Ashkharh, Yerevan
13 May 06

Text of report by Armenian newspaper Hayots Ashkharh on 13 May
headlined "Breaking the rules of the game has never been forgiven"

The departure of the Law-Governed Country Party [LGCP] from the ruling
coalition and the expected resignation of its leader, Armenian
parliament speaker Artur Bagdasaryan, are the first serious signals of
the redistribution of the country's political forces in the run-up to
elections.

In order to understand what has actually happened in the LGCP, we
should, first of all, point out that this party has failed to break
the existing unwritten rules of the country's political field. It is
not that somebody has punished the LGCP - the party itself dug the pit
in which it is now.

One cannot be a key executive and legislator and at the same time,
take opposite positions in the government and parliament: the LGCP
ministers conscientiously did what the government told them, while in
the parliament LGCP MPs conscientiously voted against the same
government's "anti-national" activities.

Sometimes, they came up with radical opposition views, while the
LGCP's inefficient appointees strongly damaged the government's
reputation.

We can only say that "the drayman creaked instead of the dray" and now
this "drayman" is alleging that it was he who returned Soviet-era
savings to the people, he who supports the media and finally he who
objects to the privatization programme of 2001-2004, a programme
adopted with the active participation of the LGCP ministers.

True, as an advocate of European integration, the LGCP and its leader
ensured the coalition's "complimentary image." But here, too, they
broke the rules. In fact, they persistently undermined the coalition
from both inside and outside by their socialist populism on the one
hand, and by their statements about "a new foreign policy doctrine" in
the German press on the other.

Politics is cruel and never forgives those who break its rules.
p 2