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Press Review


"Aravot" says events that happened in the Armenian parliament on Monday and Tuesday and will likely continue on Wednesday are "dirty games." "The legislative body has once again proved that with its composition and [intellectual] level it does not correspond to the role it is supposed to perform. Virtually all deputies are playing their game and solving their and their clans' issues," the paper writes. It expects that some parliamentarians will be arrested on Wednesday on charges of stirring disorder. Judging from President Kocharian's comments on the turmoil, the authorities will take "no prudent actions" to defuse the parliament crisis.

"Haykakan Zhamanak" claims that Kocharian on Tuesday effectively confirmed reports that he suspects some pro-government lawmakers of secretly encouraging opposition attacks on the head of state. "The president expects the deputies, parliamentary factions and group to adopt a clear position."

The pro-government deputy who on Tuesday hit one of his opposition colleagues, explains to "Haykakan Zhamanak" that he did so "for the sake of our economy." Levon Sarkisian says the opposition is obstructing Armenia's economic recovery with its radical actions. The pro-opposition paper comments, for its part, that by punching the HZhK's Aramayis Barseghian Sarkisian made sure that his businesses will not be inspected by tax authorities for the next several months. "Sarkisian simply wanted to show his loyalty to the current authorities. He simply wanted to prove that he is ready to use his capital for Kocharian's reelection." A HZhK spokeswoman, meanwhile, tells the paper that Sarkisian's assault on Barseghian was engineered by the presidential administration. She also condemns Kocharian for describing the continuing opposition occupation of the parliament podium as "hooliganism."

"Orran" suggests that the dramatic developments in the parliament were not foreseen by neither of the conflicting parties. "In essence, the opposition could not have imagined a better variant and political impact when starting the initiative," the paper says.

"Hayots Ashkhar" says the rising tensions have created a "really complicated and unpredictable political situation in Armenia." The pro-Kocharian paper admits that the balance of forces may change in the opposition's favor by next fall. The opposition will substantially boost its electoral chances if the pro-presidential forces fail to regroup and close their ranks. Some of them might even defect to the opposition camp. "The latest developments inside and outside the country demonstrate that the political limit of delaying solutions to problems has already been exhausted and the time has come for the president to initiate necessary political consultations on clarifying the organizational mechanisms for consolidating pro-government forces," the paper says.

(Vache Sarkisian)
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