In a report on President Robert Kocharian’s Tuesday visit to Gyumri, “Haykakan Zhamanak” accuses the Armenian authorities of underreporting the number of homeless people in the earthquake area, instead of continuing its reconstruction. Kocharian said that only 1,506 families need new housing in Gyumri at present. The paper recalls that the governor of the Shirak region, Romik Manukian, said last March that there are still 2,600 homeless households in Gyumri, while the town’s mayor, Vartan Ghukasian, put the figure at as much as 6,000. “And here comes Kocharian with such a statement, once again disappointing the homeless.”
“Azg” believes that Kocharian’s disdainful comments on the opposition “overstepped the boundaries of propriety.” In particular, the paper objects to Kocharian’s use of folksy backgammon terminology and his comparison of the opposition rallies with Brazilian soap operas.
“Hayots Ashkhar,” meanwhile, ridicules Tuesday’s news conference by opposition leader Artashes Geghamian, branding him a “showman” and “savior.” “It is difficult today to predict what principles and ideology a new opposition will adopt,” Republican Party leader Galust Sahakian tells the paper. “It is the desire to avoid such dangers that makes us try to pave a dignified way for the current opposition’s return to parliament. But as time goes by, possibilities [of that] become exhausted.” Sahakian also says the opposition deputies would be wrong to voluntarily give up their mandates.
“We did not resort to decisive, momentous actions. Nonetheless, some decisive developments have occurred,” one of those deputies, Shavarsh Kocharian, tells “Hayots Ashkhar.” A “breakthrough” in the opposition’s struggle will take place sooner or later, he says. Kocharian is also encouraged by the recent upsurge in political activism by Armenian non-governmental organizations. “A certain section of the society, numerous public organizations are independently pursuing and assisting in democratic developments. Significantly, that section is not seen as a mouthpiece of government or opposition propaganda.”
“Aravot” denounces the Yerevan municipality’s decision to ban Friday’s opposition rally in the city center. The paper believes that Armenian citizens are being unjustly deprived of their right to “freely express their will” and continue to be arrested for “dissidence.”