“Aravot” continues to comment on harsh criticism of the government made by leaders of the Orinats Yerkir Party during its congress last week. The paper says their speeches may make them the envy of the radical opposition and deepened tensions inside the ruling coalition in which Orinats Yerkir is a junior partner. “It looks as though coalition intolerance may escalate during [parliament] debates on the [government’s] budget for 2004,” it says. “It is possible that a new majority comprising the People’s Deputy [non-partisan group], Orinats Yerkir, Dashnaktsutyun and a part of the Republican Party controlled by the defense minister, will be formed in the parliament.”
“Quite unclear, if not unacceptable, thoughts were expressed during the Orinats Yerkir congress,” a Republican Party lawmaker, Samvel Nikoyan, tells “Hayots Ashkhar.” Nikoyan denounces Orinats Yerkir for “slinging mud” at the government, in which it is represented, and its political allies. He was particularly angered by an Orinats Yerkir leader’s claim that “whatever we touch [in government] stinks.” “So has the foul smell decreased or increased after their touching?” Nikoyan wonders.
“Iravunk” also sees more and more “factors” contributing to the coalition discord. It says the coalition is at the same time facing intensifying criticism from different directions, including the presidential administration. “At the end of the day, the prime minister’s position will again be decisive for the coalition’s survival,” the paper writes. “If he is interested in prolonging the coalition’s existence, he will take appropriate steps. Otherwise, the coalition may fall apart very rapidly.” Adding to the complexity of the situation is the leader of the Republican Party’s parliament faction, Galust Sahakian. The paper says some pro-Kocharian politicians privately speak about him with “undisguised hatred” and promise to achieve his ouster.
Sahakian, meanwhile, tells “Ayb-Fe” that his son Arman would have been elected head of the Ajapnyak district in Yerevan if the authorities had not prevented him from doing so. “The elections were accompanied by violence, intimidation,” he says.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” scrutinizes professional backgrounds of newly appointed deputy ministers representing the three coalition parties. One of them, Deputy Environment Minister Hakob Matilian, represents the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) and is known for not uttering a single word when he was a member of the country’s previous parliament. His curriculum vitae states that Matilian is fluent in German “with the help of a dictionary.” Deputy Energy Minister Artak Davtian, who represents Orinats Yerkir, used to work as a weightlifting trainer, while Deputy Transport Minister David Yeritsian (also from Dashnaktsutyun) was a librarian in the village of Ujan before being demoted to work as a stoker in the village school for unknown reasons.