"Zhamanak," the newspaper of Prime Minister Andranik Markarian's Republican Party (HHK), questions the government's decision to seek controversial changes in the parliament statutes. The paper believes that the opposition was thus given a political "bomb" that could destabilize the situation further. And it didn't fail to exploit the matter for "tarnishing" the image of the government and the parliament leadership. The paper also claims that a part of the parliament's pro-government majority is "not quite reliable." It says one should not be surprised if some deputies elected to the current parliament from the HHK list defect to another party ahead of the next elections.
"Orran" comments that President Kocharian "has inflicted profound damage upon the
executive and legislative branches, especially the majority deputies" with his latest initiatives. The changes in the parliament statutes sought by the government is one of them.
According to "Iravunk," the heated parliament debates on those changes are damaging Kocharian's standing. The paper says Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian, by contrast, is acting in a "more composed and calculated manner." Sarkisian's latest newspaper interview revealed his disapproval of Kocharian's and Markarian's government appointments. The premier and his HHK should be particularly worried about that. They are the ones who will be made scapegoats first.
"Closely follow Kocharian's steps. They have only one aim: to surrender Meghri to Azerbaijan," Vagharshak Harutiunian, the former defense minister and a senior member of the opposition Hanrapetutyun party, tells "Iravunk." "Kocharian had personally told me that this is a very good variant…The main reason for our dismissal [by Kocharian in May 2000] was the Meghri issue. Aram Sarkisian and I opposed that variant."
But as "Yerkir" writes, by reviving the Meghri issue some Armenian parties and media are playing into the hands of Azerbaijani President Heydar Aliev. The Armenian authorities, the foreign ministry in particular, are also to blame for that. All they have done is to refute the Azerbaijani claims. They should have instead publicized peace agreements reached last year.
"Hayots Ashkhar" says Turkey is showing no signs of softening its stance against Armenia. Ankara hopes to win political dividends from a possible acceleration of the Karabakh peace process and the approaching presidential elections in Armenia.
"Aravot" renews attacks on Yerevan Mayor Robert Nazarian over his controversial decisions that have turned many city parks into open-air cafes. The paper says some of their owners are senior government officials.