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Press Review


By Hrach Melkumian

According to “Aravot” the Legal State Party has ordered its members nationwide to propose two names from each locality for membership in electoral commissions. The paper remarks, “This can mean that the Legal State Party has smelled early elections”. “Aravot” also says that the process of creating an opposition front has slowed down and this is mainly due to the stance of The People’s Party of Armenia (HZhK) which prefers not to make a hasty announcement on the creation of an opposition alliance. The paper also quotes some observers who believe that the postponement of an announcement can be a signal that no opposition bloc will be created and therefore, no “hot autumn” can be expected. The paper adds that most of the parties who are involved in the creation of a possible bloc have very little experience as opposition parties and do not even know where to start.

“Haykakan Zhamanak” criticizes a special Central Bank building constructed for emergency situations, in an unnamed location outside Yerevan. The paper writes that by bringing this issue up it is not really breaking the law on state secrets, since many people who frequent the countryside area for rest and recreation know about this building. Constructed in 1997, in beautiful natural surroundings, as a facility to be used by the Central Bank in case of war, natural disasters, sabotage and other emergencies, this special building has a few dozen high class, hotel type rooms and restaurant which is used by government officials under the cover of state secrecy for leisure at the expense of the taxpayers.

In an interview with “Golos Armenii”, the Prosecutor General says that compared to last year, crimes in the army have decreased by one third in the first six months of this year. In the first half of 2000, there were 978 indictments and in 2001 only 665. Also, during the same period last year there were 49 deaths in the army and this year 40. The paper adds that deaths from diseases are not included in these figures.

“Haykakan Zhamanak” criticizes the lack of transparency at the meeting of the General Prosecutor’s council. The paper complains that only the official Armenpress and the government funded Public TV were invited to cover the meeting. As a result, the paper says, the public was deprived of its right guaranteed by the 24th article of the constitution to receive information from diverse sources.

“Golos Armenii” argues that if state owned enterprises and institutions are being downsized or closed down, parallel government ministries should also be cut back. Otherwise, an absurd situation is created, in which bureaucrats maintain their jobs and numerous deputies and bosses spend taxpayers money on transport, telecommunications and trips abroad.

“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that President Robert Kocharian has signed a decree bestowing Armenian citizenship to the first foreign minister of the Armenian republic Raffi Hovanissian who a few years ago renounced his United States citizenship to become eligible for Armenian citizenship. The paper adds that this decree has led to “folkloric expressions”. In the decree it is mentioned that Hovanissian was born in “the city of Californi
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