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Press Review


"Hayots Ashkhar" says that the June 2 local elections in Georgia, won by the opposition, were "unprecedented even for that disorganized and internally split country." The administration of President Eduard Shevardnadze, unlike other post-Soviet governments, proved unable to affect the outcome of the vote. The paper says this fact testifies to the weakness of the executive branch, which is riven by internal bickering among "various corrupt officials." This creates plenty of opportunities for "half-criminal, half-political elements." Armenia should do everything to avoid Georgia's latest "sad experience" by making sure that its own quasi-criminal elements do not play a major role in the October local elections. According to the pro-presidential paper, that danger is greater in Armenia because "the
parliament and the multi-party system are, no doubt, stronger and more
authoritative than in Georgia."

"Aravot" has a totally different take on the Georgian elections, saying that they marked a triumph for democracy. "The Georgians have won," the paper declares. They "revolted against authorities that were trying to infringe on their right to elect" and ensured that the election results reflect their wishes. Shevardnadze's supporters, according to "Aravot," are no less experienced in vote manipulation than their Armenian counterparts. But this time they failed to achieve the outcome they desired. The Georgian example shows that free and fair elections are possible if the people fight for their constitutionally guaranteed right to change their government.

Former prime minister Hrant Bagratian renews his attacks against the
current authorities. Interviewed by "Orran," Bagratian says Kocharian and his regime started off as "socialists" and ended up as "liberal egoists." "The current authorities which were accusing us o [pursuing] wild liberalism have, in fact, done much more uncontrollable things," Bagratian says, adding that the Armenian economy "may explode at any moment." The ex-premier is also concerned that the so-called "power ministers" in Armenia are now more powerful than ever before. They are "drawing up the list of future deputies" and setting quotas for imported and exported goods.

"Haykakan Zhamanak" says there are growing speculations that the Armenian interior ministry will be split into three separate agencies. The paper says this will be the result of the ongoing "inner-government tussle" for control of the interior ministry. The Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) has set its sights on the influential post which is de facto controlled by Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian. The latter does not want to give up such an important political leverage.

"Aravot" says the impending changes come in advance of the local, presidential and parliamentary elections and have a "purely political significance." Robert Kocharian does not want to lose the support of Dashnaktsutyun and Sarkisian, his two main support bases. The paper, which is against "the so-called reforms," claims that the ministries of defense and national security are also set to undergo similar changes.

(Vache Sarkisian)
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