“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that it received a letter from the fugitive interior minister Vano Siradeghian late on Wednesday notifying that he is “pleased” to add his signature to the opposition call for Robert Kocharian’s impeachment.
But with cracks emerging in the three-party alliance spearheading the impeachment campaign, the move may be overdue. “Haykakan Zhamanak” and “Aravot” claim that the troika is falling apart despite assurances made by their leaders after their meeting on Wednesday. Stepan Demirchian of the People’s Party of Armenia (HZhK) said the three parties will continue to cooperate as planned. “There are no elements of competition among us. None for the time being,” said Hanrapetutyun leader Albert Bazeyan. He also denied persistent rumors that Geghamian is an agent provocateur used by the authorities. “He never spoke positively of President Kocharian,” Bazeyan argued.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” writes that Geghamian’s refusal to attend further anti-Kocharian rallies is proof that he is not quite committed to the opposition cause. The move has spread “serious panic” among HZhK and Hanrapetutyun leaders. If they agree not to hold demonstrations anymore they will be seen as subordinating themselves to Geghamian.
The pro-government “Zhamanak” notes gleefully that the three opposition parties have not formulated a common stance on key issues facing Armenia. So far they been united by their desire to unseat Kocharian. But the paper acknowledges that the authorities have yet to “restore the people’s trust and confidence.” That will be possible only if economic betterment is felt by the majority of the population.
“Hayots Ashkhar” reports that the forthcoming staff cuts in different government agencies will affect some top bureaucrats as well. Government spokeswoman Mary Harutiunian says the posts of deputy minister will be abolished “in many ministries.” The layoffs, which are part of the government’s fiscal austerity measures, are expected to start next year. Harutiunian thinks that they “could serve as a good example” for the presidential administration and the parliament which also have large staffs.
General Manvel Grigorian, the deputy minister of defense and the chairman of the Yerkrapah Union, draws a very optimistic picture of Armenia’s present and future in a rare newspaper interview. Grigorian tells “Zhamanak” that for a country that has been independent for only ten years Armenia is “not in a bad shape.” “The truth is that a segment of our people is inclined to wander around [the world],” he says. “But most people, the core of our nation, cling to their land.”
“Yerkir” says the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) is concerned about the course of the criminal investigation into the September 25 murder of its activist Poghos Poghosian by Kocharian’s bodyguards. The party’s spokesman Gegham Manukian points to the fact that nobody has been arrested or accused in the probe yet. However, the lawyer representing interests of Poghosian’s family, Ruben Sahakian, hopes that the culprits will be brought to justice. “I don’t think that this case will not be solved,” he says.