“Ayb-Fe” comments that the outcome of the local election in Yerevan’s Ajapnyak district demonstrated that the governing Republican Party of Armenia is not that influential. The incumbent district chief, Artsrun Khachatrian, needed only the financial and logistical support of individuals born in his native Aparan region in central Armenia to defeat the Republicans.
“Iravunk” attributes the Republicans’ defeat to President Robert Kocharian. The paper says it was the presidential administration’s first successful attempt to “humble” Prime Minister Andranik Markarian and his supporters. In response to that, the Republicans failed to block on Monday a parliament debate on a referendum of confidence in Kocharian which is sought by the opposition.
Tigran Torosian, the parliament’s deputy speaker and an HHK leader, tells “Hayastani Hanrapetutyun” that the opposition success was the result of a “misunderstanding.” He is confident that the National Assembly will never agree to such a referendum. “The issue of a referendum of confidence is not timely,” he says.
“Ayb-Fe” says the parliament majority may be severely reprimanded by Kocharian for such a flop. “In any case, the fact of the matter is that the [opposition] bill on referendum will be submitted to the National Assembly for debate in early February,” the paper adds. “But it is possible that the regime will find some ways of removing the issue from the agenda.”
“Aravot” reports that the opposition Hanrapetutyun party led by Albert Bazeyan and former Prime Minister Aram Sarkisian reiterated its allegations about Kocharian’s involvement in the 1999 parliament shootings at a conference this Sunday. Bazeyan told supporters that Kocharian was “at least informed” about the conspiracy beforehand.
“Hayots Ashkhar” says Monday’s minibus crash in Yerevan, which killed at least four people, was proof that the city’s public transportation system is in shambles. The paper says the authorities do not bother to check the technical condition of hundreds of vans circulating in the capital. It says that is so because the entire sector is mired in corruption.
Newspapers also continue their coverage of the mysterious water contamination in Yerevan. “Hayots Ashkhar” says the fact that the city’s water utility and the State Committee on Water Resources have still not issued an official explanation in connection with the disease outbreak is “outrageous.”
“Azg” emphasizes the fact that they still don’t know what caused the problem and tells city residents not to expect any assistance from the government. The paper also quotes Committee chairman Gagik Martirosian as saying that his agency will punish officials guilty of the breakdown only after completing its inquiry.