By Vache Sarkissian
“Hayots Ashkharh” raises the following issue. “They say that the economy is growing, but with no visible results for the average person, despite official predictions that 2001 would be a decisive year for economic improvement.” The paper solicits the presidential spokesperson, Vahe Gabrielian’s response to this issue, who argues that unfortunately economic growth cannot immediately change people’s lives. Never the less, when jobs are being created and incomes rising, when tourism and exports are increasing, when more and more cafes are opened, somehow some of the people see the benefits. Many are now convinced, says Mr. Gabrielian that the next election campaign has started in Armenia. But he argues that this is mainly a mood in radical opposition circles and not really the start of a classic election campaign. Probably some politicians realizing that the prevailing positive atmosphere will help the incumbent president, they are searching for ways out of their impasse.
“Iravunk” writes that since the Declaration of Independence authorities have never presented a comprehensive plan of developments for the country. Governments and ministers come and go but except temporary, piecemeal solutions there is nothing else. Everything is done based on clan interests, and even children know who are the leaders of the economic-political clans. Nothing can be expected form the anti-Kocharian opposition either, who are basically people with former government posts with no concrete and constructive plans. For them the main quest is reclaiming positions in the government.
Parliament deputy Shavarsh Kocharian in an interview with “Iravunk” asserts that the time has passed when someone could play opposition by simply demanding the president’s resignation. Now it is imperative to say what is the purpose of a united opposition.” This system, this game” says Mr. Kocharian is only to the benefit of politicians and not the public.
In an interview with “Haykakan Zhamanak”, the leader of the majority “Miyasnutyun” bloc in parliament, Galust Sahakian dismisses predictions of an impending realignment in parliament and the formation of a new majority.
“Yerkir” voices anger that after the virtual disintegration of a practically dead alliance [Miyasnutyun] attempts are now made to preserve its remnants. However, the paper predicts that the remaining parliamentary faction will also be subjected to internal conflicts without freeing the parliament from its burden.
“Azg” also believes that two opposing parties [People’s Party of Armenia (PPA) and Hanrapetakan] remain part of the same parliamentary majority, which is not so much funny, but dangerous as a source of unforeseeable developments. The whole parliament might face dissolution because of the unstable state of its majority, especially that PPA members are claiming that the legislature has lost its legitimacy.
In its editorial “Aravot” says that following the October 27 1999 killings in parliament a scenario gained ground that the terrorist attack was linked to then prime minister Vazgen Sarkissian’s plans to crack down on corruption, which angered certain circles. The paper asks who has profited most from the assassinations in which the prime minister died. Which group has taken advantage and has put itself in an unchecked position, gaining control of many profitable businesses, such as food and fuel imports, air transport and the banking system. Perhaps the same “mafia” was the target of Vazgen Sarkissian’s planned crackdown.
Minister of Education and Science Edward Ghazarian had recently rejected accusations that most students accepted into the faculties of law and economics in Yerevan State University are the children of politicians and officials. He had said that “…there are no children of ministers, deputies, prosecutors and other rich businessmen” in those faculties. “Hayots Askharh” now points out that the minister has inadvertently admitted that in his perception, being a minister, deputy or prosecutor means owning a good business.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” in turn published a short list of students accepted at the Faculty of Law that includes the children of Defense Minister Serge Sarkissian and a number of other ministers, deputies and high-ranking government officials. The paper writes that undoubtedly some of these youngsters deserve to enroll in the highly respected Faculty of Law and “ we wish them all the best”, but why does the minister of education hide the facts.