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Press Review


“Azg” likens the highest echelons of Armenia’s state apparatus to an exclusive club where members are never kicked out despite periodically changing their roles. The paper says this is what happened on Tuesday when Prime Minister Andranik Markarian made several senior appointments in the Ministry of Education, the State Committee on Water Resources and the Yerevan municipality. “They may be moved around, replace each other in one or another case, but never lose their untouchable club right to get a post.”

“Haykakan Zhamanak” considers the appointment of Artak Sahradian, the former chairman of the Central Election Commission, as deputy education minister a major political development. “Especially at this point giving Sahradian a [new] job is very important for Robert Kocharian. As political upheavals approach, Kocharian wants to prove that he knows how to lavishly reward those who provided illegal services to him.”

“Haykakan Zhamanak” says the removal of Gagik Martirosian, head of the State Committee on Water Resources, was unexpected. Martirosian was present at Markarian’s meeting with senior government officials hours before his sacking. There he made comments that “do not befit a modern-day Armenian official.” Martirosian noted in particular that many local government chiefs in Armenia are corrupt and complained about the government’s refusal to sack them. Speaking in parliament earlier this week, Martirosian criticized the Dashnaktsutyun and Orinats Yerkir parties for their objections to higher tariffs for drinking and irrigation water tariffs.

“Azg” denounces parliament speaker Artur Baghdasarian’s upcoming visit to Italy as a waste of the scarce government money. “Baghdasarian is consistently continuing his predecessor Armen Khachatrian’s traditions -- protracted trips abroad. Our taxpayers have a legitimate right to know who effectively state resources are being spent and what are the benefits of the National Assembly chairman’s visits for the Republic of Armenia.”

Gagik Minasian, a senior lawmaker representing the governing Republican Party, assures “Hayots Ashkhar” that the ruling coalition is trying to dissuade Armenians from attending the forthcoming opposition “concrete programs” that aim to address their grievances. “Every family will feel their fruits,” Minasian says. He says the three coalition parties could issue a joint “appeal to voters” if opposition actions threaten political stability. This is confirmed by the parliamentary leader of Orinats Yerkir, Samvel Balasanian, and the head of Dashnaktsutyun’s parliament faction, Levon Mkrtchian.

“Aravot” reports that the first secretary of the Armenian Communist Party (HKK), Ruben Tovmasian, does not support the planned opposition offensive against Kocharian because he fells that its sole purpose is “regime change for the sake of regime change.” But Tovmasian’s opinion is not shared by some other prominent Communists. “The majority of Communists demand that we take part in the rallies aimed at regime change,” says Khoren Sarkisian. “The HKK welcomes the opposition actions, is joining the movement, will take part in the rallies and regime change will take lace. As for Tovmasian’s position, we will ascertain it. We can’t have two opinions.”

(Vache Sarkisian)
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