"Hayots Ashkhar," a newspaper largely supportive of President Kocharian, remains skeptical about the Armenian government's announced anti-corruption drive. The government, it says, has not done anything concrete except forming some ad hoc commissions or drafting anti-corruption programs because it itself is corrupt. Top officials are trying to make the public believe that bribery and nepotism exist only in the middle and lower echelons of the government.
"Haykakan Zhamanak" says pro-government parties are agonizing over how to reconcile the mutually exclusive aims of being pro-government and at the same time winning votes in the next elections. "There are so many pro-government parties that it will take ten armies, security services and prosecutor's offices to meet demands of all of them. But do not think that this objective is impossible to achieve." The paper
says those parties are now hunting for the support of wealthy and well-connected individuals whom they despised until recently.
"Haykakan Zhamanak" predicts that the first-ever elections of the rector of Yerevan State University, scheduled for March 13, will be a sham. The current rector, Radik Martirosian, has already secured his victory despite the fact that most university professors are unhappy with his leadership. Martirosian will face no challenges during the vote. The paper says that he is not eligible to be a candidate because he has exceeded the 65-year age limit set for the post. "Therefore, he can not be legitimate," it concludes.
"Haykakan Zhamanak" also reports that local hardline groups uniting veterans of the Nagorno-Karabakh war have condemned Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian over his latest remark that the Armenian side should return some of the occupied Azerbaijani territories in exchange for peace. The paper notes that among the signatories of a joint statement by veterans is a member of the Nagorno-Karabakh parliament.
Meanwhile, a senior member of Musavat, a leading Azerbaijani opposition party, tells "Aravot" that the Armenians should pull out from all occupied lands without any precondition. Hikmet Haji-zade says Karabakh should only count on being granted a "certain autonomy" inside Azerbaijan.