(Saturday, November 8)
In an interview with “Aravot,” the chief of President Robert Kocharian’s staff, Artashes Tumanian, rules out “radical” changes in Armenia’s leadership after the latest division of deputy ministerial posts among the three coalition parties. Artashes Tumanian also makes the point that the balance of forces between the regime and the opposition is now “somewhat stabilized.” He shrugs off continuing opposition attempts to force a referendum of confidence in Kocharian. “I don’t think that there is such a prospect,” he says. “The correlation of forces in the parliament is not such and there are no sufficient deputies backing that idea.”
But “Aravot” notes that some pro-Kocharian politicians did speak out in favor of such a referendum last April. One of them was Galust Sahakian, the leader of the Republican Party’s faction in the National Assembly. Dashnaktsutyun’s Vahan Hovannisian also endorsed the idea, albeit from a different angle. Kocharian, he said back in April, may need a popular vote of confidence for accepting or rejecting an international peace proposal on Nagorno-Karabakh.
According to “Hayots Ashkhar,” most Armenians do not care who is in power. What they are primarily concerned about is corruption and the shadow economy. The paper says the authorities have so far failed to address those concerns. “The authorities have repeatedly made it clear that the biggest thieves will be pardoned. That is, they won’t be accused of anything as they, the thieves, have grown so intertwined with the [government] system that the latter owes its existence to them. Remove a few of them and everything will crumble to hell,” the normally pro-Kocharian paper says. “But if you put the thieves within a [legal] framework and constrain them with all kinds of economic laws, they will immediately become law-abiding capitalists.”
“The causes of corruption must definitely be eliminated,” parliament vice-speaker Tigran Torosian tells “Hayots Ashkhar.” “And there is only two ways of accomplishing this. We have to improve the country’s legal framework and take measures for enforcing legislation properly.”
“Golos Armenii” says prosecutors have proved in the court that the murder of Tigran Naghdalian was masterminded by businessman Armen Sarkisian. But the paper criticizes them for not demanding a life imprisonment for him. “The expected court verdict for the murder of Tigran Naghdalian is not adequate for the committed crime,” it says.
“Ayb-Fe” claims that Georgia’s opposition parties, which have been protesting the official results of recent parliamentary elections, are more united and therefore successful than their Armenian counterparts. The paper believes that the Georgian opposition may well achieve what it wants.