“Ayb-Fe” comments that the vice-speakers of the Armenian parliament and the chairman of its foreign relations committee reacted negatively to the authorities’ refusal to reopen the A1+ channel because they realize that they will bear the brunt of its negative international consequences. “So those statements have little to do with A1+,” the TV station’s daily publication says. “They are mainly meant for the Council of Europe.”
According to “Iravunk,” the A1+ affair has left President Kocharian in isolation as his three main loyal parties have distanced themselves from the decision taken by the National Commission on Television and Radio. The paper also questions the sincerity of the three governing parties, saying that they want the Armenian public to forget “how they entered the parliament.” In any case, there are now clear differences between the three-party coalition and Kocharian on whether A1+ should be allowed to go back on air. All of which, the paper concludes, shows that “there is no united leadership as such in Armenia.”
“He said once ‘no’ and doesn’t want to change his mind,” A1+ director Mesrop Movsesian tells “Iravunk,” referring to Kocharian’s apparent unwillingness to see his channel resume its work. Movsesian believes that the closure of A1+ will continue to dog the Armenian authorities in the international arena. Movsesian says he is now more preoccupied with the A1+ lawsuit against the government which is due to be considered by the European Court for Human Rights.
Levon Mkrtchian, the leader of the Dashnaktsutyun faction in the parliament, tells “Aravot” that Armenia’s executive and legislative authorities must already start taking meaningful steps to ensure that the next parliamentary and presidential elections are democratic. “It is very essential that democratization takes place not under the threat of some sanctions. One should be conscious that such changes are the necessary conditions for the development of our country,” the former minister of education says.
“Hayots Ashkhar” reports on the apparent mutual dislike of two tobacco tycoons and business partners: Ruben Hayrapetian and Hrant Vartanian. Hayrapetian first exposed it in a weekend newspaper interview in which he attacked Vartanian for pushing several of his business cronies into the parliament on the Dashnaktsutyun ticket. Vartanian hits back, defending his political strategy. Vartanian also says that he and Hayrapetian can no longer jointly own Armenia’s largest tobacco factory and need a “separation.”