The parliamentary leader of the governing Republican Party of Armenia (HHK), Galust Sahakian, tells “Haykakan Zhamanak” that he believes the real masterminds of the 1999 parliament massacre will not be identified and punished. Sahakian also dismisses as “sentimental” opposition leader Stepan Demirchian’s decision to boycott the trial of his father’s assassins.
Demirchian rebuts the criticism in the same paper, contemptuously describing Sahakian as someone who hardly cares about anything except his lucrative businesses. “I don’t care at all about his ‘judgments’,” Demirchian says. “We have absolutely no intention to participate in a trial which has been predetermined and has been proceeding under a pre-planned scenario.” Turning to the political situation in the country, Demirchian indicates that dialogue with the authorities will be impossible if the parliament majority blocks opposition efforts to hold a referendum of confidence in President Kocharian.
“Aravot” reports that the Demirchian-led opposition has drafted 30 legislative amendments ranging from the proposed referendum to the idea of compensating holders of Soviet-era bank accounts devaluated by hyperinflation. The issue of the disappeared savings was actively exploited by the Orinats Yerkir Party in the run-up to the May parliamentary elections, a tactics branded as populist by the Republicans. “It is clear that the [governing] coalition will not back the opposition initiative and will not come up with a similar initiative of its own in the near future,” the paper says. “It is also clear that the opposition draft which was termed populist will be killed during the autumn session [of parliament].”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” quotes a senior government official as chiding parliament speaker Artur Baghdasarian for his latest call for a halt to the privatization of public hospitals. “Artur Baghdasarian is a member of the coalition and can always raise issues within the framework of the coalition,” the head of the government’s Committee on the Management of State Property, David Vartanian, tells the paper.
“A government made up of individuals serving the same master can not be considered a coalition just because its members carry different party emblems,” opposition lawmaker Hmayak Hovannisian tells “Hayots Ashkhar.” Hovannisian says “revolutionary developments” in Armenia are inevitable because the majority of the population is not represented in the executive and legislative branches of government and has exhausted all possibilities of peaceful regime change.
“Hayots Ashkhar” reports that the prices of bread are again rising in Armenia. “The market seems to be on the brink of a new redistribution as a result of which the prices of bread products are again going up,” the paper says. It says Armenia’s main grain importer, the Astghatsolk company of tycoon Samvel Aleksanian, is apparently being “driven out” of the business. Tax authorities have reportedly been inspecting Aleksanian’s businesses for the past several weeks.
But a spokesman for Aleksanian assures “Aravot” that such reports “do not correspond to reality.” “The problems are only technical,” David Ohanian says. Ohanian finds “alarming” and untrue the claims that Aleksanian is selling his businesses and plans to leave Armenia.