“Haykakan Zhamanak” writes that the anti-corruption council set up by President Robert Kocharian will not produce any positive results, arguing that each of the senior officials sitting on it already had the powers to curb corruption but never used them. The paper says there is no reason to expect them to crack down on corrupt practices now.
“Aravot” says that Kocharian should display greater respect for his opponents not least because they, according to official figures, won 35 percent of the vote in last year’s presidential election. His scornful remarks on the opposition are therefore applicable to at least one third of the electorate. “Isn’t there a single person in Kocharian’s inner circle who would tell him about the inadmissibility of doing such things,” the paper says, warning of the emergence of “a Turkmenbashi syndrome” in Armenia.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that June 11 will mark the first anniversary of the formation of the current ruling coalition and asks its members to assess its track record. Environment Minister Vartan Ayvazian believes that the three coalition parties are getting on rather well. If there are any manifestations of “partisan intolerance” they come from parliament, Ayvazian says. The paper says that when asked to name a “minister of the year” most ministers and parliamentarians affiliated with those parties mentioned Agriculture Minister David Lokian.
“Golos Armenii” predicts that the Armenian opposition will fail to pull a larger crowd at its Friday rally in Yerevan. The paper says opposition leaders have failed to come up with a “fresh thought or idea” since the last rally held on May 21. “The country, in the meantime, has plenty of problems which require a solution,” it adds. “The president’s activities, the laws passed by parliament, the government’s decisions and the course of their implementation are in need of daily attention, tough public reaction. Instead, everything has been replaced by hysterical speeches and continuous gossips.”
Levon Nersisian of the Yerevan-based Sakharov Center for Human Rights Protection tells “Hayots Ashkhar” that there are no political prisoners in Armenia. Nersisian believes that none of the individuals arrested in connection with the opposition demonstrations is being kept in jail for expressing their political views in a way which did not lead to violations of the law. “It is impermissible to break the law in any case,” he says.
“Azg” reports that officials from the Armenian government and the European Union will meet in Brussels on Friday to discuss the fate of the Metsamor nuclear plant. The paper says the EU is stepping up its pressure on Yerevan to shut down the plant. “If the Armenian authorities do not meet the Europeans’ demands our country will be stripped of the EU’s promised 100 million-euro grant which is meant for finding alternative sources of energy in our republic.” While understanding the EU concerns, the paper fears that a quick decommissioning of Metsamor would again plunge Armenia into a severe power crisis.