“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports on the scandalous defection of parliament deputy Napoleon Azizian from the opposition National Unity Party (AMK) of Artashes Geghamian. The two men have been trading accusations through the media over the past week. The paper says a top Geghamian aide, Aleksan Karapetian, was urging Azizian on Wednesday to resign from the National Assembly. AMK leaders also note that Azizian broke the party ranks to attend President Robert Kocharian’s 2003 inauguration and a presidential reception last September, instead of being present at last spring’s opposition rallies in Yerevan.
“Azizian is a man of honor and all of my party comrades say that he will ask to be relieved of his parliamentarian duties in the coming days,” Geghamian says in an interview with “168 Zham.” “I think he will realize that he was elected solely thanks to the National Unity Party.” Geghamian also attacks Prosecutor-General Aghvan Hovsepian with whom Azizian is thought to maintain close links.
“That the prosecutor’s office is politicized and has been turned into a campaign headquarters is known to everyone. You just can’t rally semi-hungry people around a mountain,” Geghamian says, referring to Hovsepian’s plans to organize a huge Armenian circle dance around Armenia’s highest mountain. The opposition leader accuses the authorities of “laying the groundwork for election falsifications.” He refers to Hovsepian and his supporters as “individuals devoid of state mentality and ignorant of developments around the world.” They are leading Armenia “back to the 19th century,” he concludes.
Citing unspecified “American sources,” “168 Zham” claims that the U.S. State Department will soon present the Armenian government with a list of “Armenia’s most corrupt and criminal” officials and oligarchs. The “black list” will include 18 names, the paper says. “It is also expected that the Americans will not confine themselves to passing the information on to Armenia’s leadership through purely diplomatic channels. They will likely organize an information leak to mass media,” it adds.
According to “Haykakan Zhamanak,” a resumption of the war in Nagorno-Karabakh is “as unlikely as never before.” “The destabilization is not good neither for Russia and the United States nor for the government and opposition elites in Armenia and Azerbaijan,” argues the paper. It says Azerbaijan is now even less inclined to resort to military action after its recent “impressive victories in the propaganda war” with the Armenians. The Azerbaijanis also enjoy greater international support these days, according to “Haykakan Zhamanak.”