According to “Haykakan Zhamanak,” several variants of a government reshuffle are currently being discussed in the highest echelons of Armenia’s leadership. Under one of the scenarios, ministers would basically swap their posts. Minister for Local Government Hovik Abrahamian would replace Agriculture Minister Zaven Gevorgian. Abrahamian’s current job would be given to Minister of Industrial Infrastructures David Zadoyan whose post would be abolished altogether.
“Aravot” says none of the top government official has reacted in any way to the publication of pictures of their luxury mansions on the newspaper’s front page. So the public has not been officially told how the individuals that never engaged in legal business have obtained “the astronomical sums” to build their expensive compounds. This fact leads the paper to the following conclusion: “They steal openly in this country. Our top bureaucrats don’t give a damn about public opinion. What matters to them is the opinion of their superiors. The superiors apparently allow them to steal so long as they can share in the benefits.”
“Iravunk” reports that the six opposition parties that have drafted an alternative constitution for Armenia have started a series of meetings with ordinary people across the country after the de facto defeat of their bill in the parliament. The unfolding cooperation among those parties increasingly looks likes an alliance. Kocharian’s tough stance against any alternative versions of constitutional reform will only make that alliance stronger. The paper is also alarmed at what it says are government plans to rein in the independent media by “limiting freedom of speech.”
The Armenian Communist Party is one of the six opposition forces that put forward the alternative constitution. Its weekly newspaper, “Hayastani Komunist,” runs an editorial welcoming the opposition-led “constitutional movement” against Kocharian’s “unlimited powers.” It accuses Kocharian of using constitutional reform to ensure his reelection in 2003. Kocharian’s constitutional proposals, if enacted, would lead to an “absolute dictatorship” in Armenia, the paper concludes.
“Golos Armenii” discusses the first anniversary of Armenia’s entry into the Council of Europe. The paper takes the view that, unlike neighboring Azerbaijan, Armenia is successfully fulfilling its Council of Europe obligations. But it also criticizes the pan-European organization for continuing to have “an equal approach to Armenia and Azerbaijan.” This, according to “Golos Armenii,” demonstrates that the Council is often driven by political expediency rather than a mere desire to protect human rights in its member countries.