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Press Review


Galust Sahakian, the parliamentary leader of the governing Republican Party (HHK), renews his calls in an “Iravunk” interview for an end to the opposition boycott of Armenian parliament sessions. “The situation has changed both in terms of our domestic political realities and the international arena and the international community,” Sahakian says. He argues that the Armenian opposition can play a “great role” in helping the government cope with external challenges facing the country.

Sahakian adds at the same time that “the world will not crumble” if the opposition boycott continues. In that case, he indicates, the parliament majority may well decide to strip the opposition Artarutyun alliance and the National Unity Party of their seats in the National Assembly. The Armenian authorities should not be worried about negative international reaction to such a drastic measure, Sahakian concludes.

Meanwhile, one of the top opposition leaders, Aram Sarkisian, tells “Aravot” that the opposition has yet to answer the crucial question of “whom it is going to replace by whom.” “I think it is time to ascertain who will be [in office] after Kocharian,” Sarkisian says, adding that he stands for collective leadership of the country.

“Hayots Ashkhar” reports that the revised package of draft amendments to Armenia’s constitution suggested by Kocharian and his allies will be officially put in circulation on Friday. It quotes one of the authors of the amendments, lawyer Armen Harutiunian, as saying that they provide for a more clear separation of the legislative, executive and judicial branches. The question of whether Kocharian gets or loses powers is of secondary importance, Harutiunian says. But he does claim that the Armenian cabinet of ministers, the parliament and the courts would enjoy greater authority under the proposed constitutional reform.

A senior Republican lawmaker, Gagik Melikian, tells “Hayots Ashkhar” that Armenia’s first-half economic growth rate of nearly 10 percent did not live up to his expectations. He says the growth was not higher because of the recent political crisis and the lack of additional funding by the Lincy Foundation of Armenian-American billionaire Kirk Kerkorian.

According to “Iravunk,” President Kocharian must embark on important reforms if he is to continue to enjoy the backing of the world’s “superpowers.” That means putting in place “predictable and transparent rules of the game,” even if it requires the ouster of those individuals who helped him controversially win a second term last year. “The outside world will reckon with Robert Kocharian only if he keeps the situation under control and gets rid of the status of his entourage’s hostage,” speculates the paper. “But all of that can not occur without upheavals because the semi-criminal elite will not surrender its positions without resistance.”

(Hrach Melkumian)
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