“Iravunk” says that bitter recriminations traded by pro-government and opposition deputies in the Armenian parliament this week may have something to do with reported friction between Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian and Prime Minister Andranik Markarian. The paper says some members of Markarian’s Republican Party (HHK) feel that it was part of a “provocation” organized by Sarkisian with the aim of “discrediting the parliament and especially its majority.” “It is possible that the groundwork is being laid for dissolving the parliament if necessary,” it adds.
“Hayastani Hanrapetutyun” notes that the People’s Deputy group of non-partisan lawmakers supportive of President Robert Kocharian had virtually no involvement in the parliament debates on constitutional reform. “The opposition and the coalition have their own objectives here,” one of those lawmakers, Vahram Baghdasarian, tells the paper. “We should have adopted and we did adopt a construction position in this fight.”
“With this document we really have an opportunity to change our life,” “Yerkir” comments on the draft amendments approved by the National Assembly. “The draft balances the government branches and makes the prime minister and the National Assembly fairly strong.” The president of the republic would “give up serious levers” of power, adds the paper.
“The authorities understand very well that the collapse of the [constitutional] referendum would hurt not themselves but the country,” deputy parliament speaker Vahan Hovannisian tells “Hayots Ashkhar.”
“Aravot” finds noteworthy the fact that Hovannisian said in a speech in the parliament on Thursday that Armenia’s democratization is also important for a pro-Armenian resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Hovannisian also claimed that the passage of the constitutional amendments would strengthen Armenia’s bargaining position in the Karabakh negotiations.
“Karabakh’s independence must be recognized, including by Armenia,” the foreign minister of the self-proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, Arman Melikian, tells “Ayb-Fe” in an interview dedicated to the 14th anniversary of the NKR’s declaration of independence. “I consider this the true path. What kind of relations or arrangements we will have in the future is a different issue.”
“Iravunk” quotes the police chief of Gyumri, Shirak Shahnazarian, as denying police reports that he met and dined with prominent crime figures at a local restaurant over a month ago. Shahnazarian describes those reports as a “fabrication” spread by his immediate boss Khachik Asatrian who runs the police department of the Shirak region, of which Gyumri is the administrative center. “I insist that the Gyumri police chief did meet with people from those circles on July 28, took part in ‘clarifications’ and a dinner party,” Asatrian is quoted as saying. “What happened is a vicious phenomenon for the [law-enforcement] system and that is why I appealed to the police chief.” Asatrian says the head of the national police service, Hayk Harutiunian, has ordered an inquiry into Shahnazarian’s dubious activities.