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Press Review


The recurrence of election-related violence in Yerevan’s Ajapnyak district is a top story in Friday’s Armenian newspapers that carry headlines like “They again stab in Ajapnyak,” “Victory requires sacrifices,” and “War in Ajapnyak has begun.”

“I am convinced that this was the work of [Ajapnyak prefect] Artsrun Khachatrian,” the father of Khachatrian’s challenger, Galust Sahakian, tells “Haykakan Zhamanak.”

But Khachatrian presents a completely different version of events in “Iravunk.” He says the violence occurred not in a campaign office of Arman Sahakian, but outside a local restaurant. He says most of the victims were ordinary citizens that support him.

“Aravot” cites a police statement saying that no election campaign office in the area was attacked late on Wednesday.

But Galust Sahakian brushes aside the statement as a “bluff” in “Haykakan Zhamanak.” “It is clear which forces worked to publicize that view,” he says. He also denies police claims that no arrests were made. “People were detained. It’s just that there is an attempt to cover up the case,” he says.

“Iravunk” comments that the local race in Ajapnyak opened more cracks inside the governing coalition as its three participants failed to endorse a single candidate. The paper says the Republican Party supports Arman Sahakian, while Dashnaktsutyun and Orinats Yerkir stand by Khachatrian. But Dashnaktsutyun spokesman Gegham Manukian plays down the matter, saying that the coalition did not even discuss it.

“Haykakan Zhamanak” mocks assurances by the chief of the government staff, Manuk Topuzian, that new deputy ministers that will be appointed soon as a result of a power-sharing deal between the three parties, will join the government to “carry a burden.” The paper believes that the parties and their senior members are primarily concerned with gaining more power levers and making money.

“Aravot” quotes a leading member of Dashnaktsutyun, Hrair Karapetian, as saying that his party is ready to cooperate with opposition leader Artashes Geghamian, but “not at the coalition’s expense.” “The coalition is not just three parties,” he says. “The fourth member of the coalition is the president of the republic. Also making up the coalition is the defense minister.”

“The absence of [government] legitimacy is the principal problem in our region,” writes “Ayb-Fe,” citing David Shahnazarian of the former ruling Armenian Pan-National Movement (HHSh). Shahnazarian says the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan lack the popular mandate to achieve a Karabakh settlement. Their illegitimacy will not allow them to neutralize hard-line elements in their administrations, he says.

(Vache Sarkisian)
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