Tuesday, June 05, 2007

2008 Coming Into Focus: Think tank pits Serzh against Tsarukyan

Jun 4, 2007
ArmeniaNow.com, Armenia
By Sara Khojoyan - ArmeniaNow reporter

While Armenia looks forward to distribution of mandates in the National Assembly and formation of a new government, international think tanks make forecasts on the future president of the country.

The highly-regarded Jane’s Information Group speculates that the battle for the president’s post will mainly evolve between the leader of Republican Party of Armenia, Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan and the leader of Prosperous Armenia Party Gagik Tsarukyan. The prediction appears in the June issue of Jane’s Foreign Report.

“Serzh Sargsyan’s major rival at the presidential run will be the founder and the leader of PAP, NA member and tycoon Gagik Tsarukyan,” says the report. It adds, Gagik Tsarukyan strengthened his position as Sargsyan’s ‘only actual rival’ after he got 15 percent at the May 12th election.

Jane’s analysts say the PM position will be Sargsyan’s advantage in the upcoming campaign: “The support the PM’s position [will give to Sargsyan] is a double-edged weapon. On the one hand the position gives Sargsyan an opportunity to use state [administrative] leverages and to manifest him as a national leader. On the other hand, the position is a challenge: this is the first time Sargsyan gets a high position like this and appears in the center of everyone’s attention.”

Reflecting on the future president, the analysts at Jane’s mention he will “be forced to take complicated steps to provide balance.”

Consequently, the most important thing in the future presidential election will be “the candidates’ stand on foreign policy issues, the solutions they offer for regionally isolated Armenia, increasingly dependent on Russia.”

“Armenia will definitely remain within the sphere of Russia’s influence and the slightest shift to the West will cause harsh response from Russia. Armenia’s future president will face a hard task of overcoming the present international isolation by providing a balance in foreign policy,” Jane’s Intelligence reports.

Note: Above are excerpts from the article. The full article appears here. Clarifications and comments by me are contained in {}. Deletions are marked by [...]. The bold emphasis is mine.



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