(Saturday, August 27)
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that the chief judge in the southeastern Armenian town of Goris, Ignat Beglarian, was beaten up last week by “bodyguards” of Surik Khachatrian, the controversial regional governor. The paper says Beglarian was assaulted after he scolded Khachatrian’s minions as their cars nearly ran over himself and his child. “As a result, the judge found himself in hospital,” it says, adding: “This information was confirmed by the Justice Ministry. The incident was not registered in the police. No criminal case was opened because the judge did not file a complaint.”
“Golos Armenii” writes that although Armenia and Azerbaijan have said that their presidents will not sign any peace agreements in the Russian city of Kazan, Ilham Aliev and Robert Kocharian could “take a certain step towards a peaceful settlement.”
Armenian newspapers carry a statement by the U.S. embassy in Armenia on efforts to amend the Armenian constitution. The statement came ahead of Monday’s parliament debates on the draft amendments that will be put to the referendum in November. It said he hopes that members of the National Assembly “will recognize the heavy responsibility they bear before their fellow-countrymen for agreeing on the best constitutional arrangements.” “Monday’s debate and the subsequent process will be taken as an indication of the level of political development in Armenia,” concluded the statement.
“Political developments in the country will be more democratic if the opposition participates in the constitutional process,” the British ambassador to Armenia, Thorda Abbott-Watt, tells “Hayots Ashkhar.” She believes that the passage of the constitutional amendments is important for Armenia’s future.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” says that Monday’s parliament debate will center on anything but the content of Kocharian’s constitutional draft. Both the parliament majority and opposition lawmakers will turn it into a “race of winning political dividends.”
“It will be an expressive but, alas, fruitless show,” predicts “Golos Armenii.”
Echoing Kocharian’s statements, deputy parliament speaker Tigran Torosian tells “Hayots Ashkhar” that the opposition is wrong to believe that success of the constitutional referendum will amount to its political defeat. “If the draft collapses, Armenia as a whole will suffer,” he says. “And consequences will not be long in coming. But in case of a positive outcome of the referendum, everybody would win: the government, the opposition and, most importantly, the people. For that would lay the groundwork for holding the next Armenian elections in accordance with international standards.”