“Haykakan Zhamanak” reacts with a pessimistic comment to Tuesday’s meeting of the parliamentary commission on the October 1999 shootings investigation. “It is evident that this commission will not be able to overcome internal differences because nine out of its twelve members were against creation of such a commission. Therefore, these people will go to great lengths to prove the absurdity of its creation.”
The lawyer of the Demirchian family in the trial of parliament assailants reaffirms, in an “Aravot” interview, his belief that the due process of law is not applicable to Nairi Hunanian because “he placed himself beyond the law with his actions.” Ashot Sarkisian says there is nothing wrong about investigators torturing Hunanian to extract testimony.
“Zhamanak” continues to attack the People’s Party of Armenia (HZhK) and point to internal divisions that came to light at the party’s latest congress. Having again failed to ascertain its political line, the HZhK will most probably remain a “floating party.” Other political forces too are increasingly faced with such problems as the “epidemic of inner-party disputes” spreads in Armenian politics. This will no doubt have negative consequences for the Armenian state, the paper says.
“Yerkir” says that government pledges to scale back the huge informal sector of the Armenian economy have proved to be shallow. Despite all the talk of cracking down on corporate tax evaders little has been done in practice. The failed government attempt to privatize the energy sector illustrates the state’s weakness. Prime Minister Markarian, in effect, lost the battle with “shadow groups” that have a vested interest in keeping electricity distribution companies under state control. It is not clear “who and how will stop the continuing plunder in the distribution networks.” The country’s leadership needs to demonstrate a “collective political will” to tackle the problem.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” looks at the situation in the energy sector and presents a grim picture. With wages delayed for months, no capital investments made in the power utilities and Armenia’s gas debt to Russia showing no sings of decreasing, the paper wonders where the big sums collected from customers end up.
“Yerkir” is unhappy with some of the foreign companies operating in Armenia. It runs two extensive articles to back up its claim that the Greek owners of the ArmenTel monopoly are mismanaging the telecommunications sector. A-Utility, an Italian firm running Yerevan’s water supplies network, also comes under attack.
“Zhamanak” says the “endgame” in the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process is not looming yet, urging the public to brace for more difficult negotiations. “We must be aware that we have entered a game in which he who loses his nerve and starts panicking first will be defeated.”
“Aravot,” meanwhile, claims, citing “reliable sources,” that General Samvel Babayan, the jailed former commander of the Karabakh army, has been offered freedom in return for requesting amnesty from Karabakh President Arkady Ghukasian and leaving Karabakh and Armenia.