“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that President Robert Kocharian told Prosecutor-General Aghvan Hovsepian on Tuesday to stop campaigning for his protégé Arayik Hayrapetian’s victory in Sunday’s repeat by-election to parliament and allow the candidate of the Orinats Yerkir Party to get elected instead. But the paper says that Hayrapetian’s campaign managers who met afterward “did not make a final decision.” Hayrapetian, for his part, assured supporters that he is “determined” to continue the electoral struggle.
According to “Hayots Ashkhar,” Armenia may already boast established state institutions but its overall political system remains mired in “chaos.” The paper chides the ruling three-party coalition for its refusal to broaden the circle of pro-presidential forces represented in government. Just because a particular party holds no parliament seats does not mean that it lacks the intellectual and moral capacity to participate in state governance, it says.
“Aravot” reports that Ashot Manucharian, a prominent opposition politician, claims to have recognized one of the men that subjected him to severe beating last April. The paper carries the picture of that man on its front page, saying that he was also involved in the April 5 attack on journalists covering an opposition rally in Yerevan.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” predicts a sweeping reshuffle in the Armenian Foreign Ministry. The paper says that Gegham Gharibjanian and Armen Bayburtian, Armenia’s outgoing ambassador to Iran and India respectively, will be appointed deputy foreign ministers. One of the current deputy ministers, Ruben Shugarian, will become Armenia’s Rome-based ambassador to Italy, Spain and Portugal. Another deputy minister, Tatul Manaserian, will head the Armenian mission in Washington. The key question, according to the paper, is whether Levon Sarkisian, the Armenian envoy in Syria and Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian’s brother, will also be given a deputy ministerial job.
Writing in “Aravot,” leaders of a civic group called New Armenia allege that a large part of government money budgeted for youth affairs is being embezzled by senior officials. The organization believes that they embody a highly corrupt system existing in the country. “It is impossible to explain or break up that system from within. Those people simply do not imagine another system and can not get out of [the existing system] with their own numerous sins, friendly ties and so on.” The New Armenia leaders say among individuals who have made careers by exploiting youth issues are the chief of Kocharian’s oversight service, Vahram Barseghian, and the head of a government body supervising the Armenian civil service, Manvel Badalian.