(Saturday, November 27)
“Hayots Ashkhar” berates the former ruling HHSh party for voicing support for Ukraine’s opposition leader Victor Yushchenko who claims to have been robbed of victory in last week’s disputed presidential election. The paper says HHSh leaders “forgot” who ordered tanks into the streets of Yerevan in September 1996 to enforce the official results of a fraudulent presidential election. “Even the former president [Levon Ter-Petrosian], who has a telling experience in suppressing a popular revolt, did not hesitate express unequivocal support for Yushchenko,” it says, adding that Ter-Petrosian and his allies are using double standards.
In a separate commentary, “Hayots Ashkhar” accuses the HHSh of making fresh attempts to exploit the Nagorno-Karabakh issue for political purposes in conjunction with the United States. The paper claims that they want to topple the current Armenian government. “In Armenia, nationalism is the only factor that can blow up a situation.”
“Aravot” reports on an unfolding war of words between the two deputy speakers of the Armenian parliament, Tigran Torosian and Vahan Hovannisian. In an interview with paper Torosian hits back at Hovannisian for saying that he should have boycotted a recent meeting in Paris that discussed a report on Karabakh to be submitted to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) in January. The report is widely seen as pro-Azerbaijani in Armenia. Torosian, who heads the Armenian delegation at the PACE, says all of his actions were coordinated with the government in Yerevan. “If Mr. Hovannisian approached anyone with his proposal, then he must have the courage to direct his unhappiness to these appropriate address. If he didn’t address, then his gloating is pointless.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that Torosian’s Republican Party (HHK) and Hovannisian’s Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) have again failed to bridge their differences on electoral reform sought by the latter. Yet another meeting of their leaders, initiated by parliament speaker Artur Baghdasarian, took place on Friday in a “quite nervous atmosphere.” “Dashnaktsutyun leaders warned that if the number of proportional representation seats [in parliament] is not increased they will draw serious conclusions from that,” writes the paper. “And because the issue again found no solution in the National Assembly chairman’s office, the coalition parties decided to transfer its solution to Robert Kocharian’s office.”
“If Kocharian, whom coalition expects to act as an arbiter, does not defend Dashnaktsutyun’s view, Dashnaktsutyun will issue a statement about a violation of the [June 2003] coalition memorandum and leave the coalition,” continues “Haykakan Zhamanak.” But it says Prime Minister Andranik Markarian was confident earlier in the week that the Dashnaks will not fulfill their threats.
An HHK lawmaker, Hamlet Harutiunian, tells “Aravot” that 99 percent of the parliament staff, including drivers and canteen cooks, are now affiliated with Baghdasarian’s Orinats Yerkir Party. “In these conditions, it is impossible to have a normal moral-psychological atmosphere in the parliament,” he says. Harutiunian also warns Orinats Yerkir to stop resorting to “populism.”