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Press Review


Armenian press commentary on Tuesday centers on renewed parliament debates on the issue of restoring the depreciated Soviet-era bank accounts.

“Iravunk” notes that Armenian parliament factions are fighting to kidnap the issue but none of them knows just how hundreds of thousands of deposit holders can be compensated. The paper says some of them are thereby trying to woo the public ahead of the November constitutional referendum.

“Haykakan Zhamanak” says the issue has again pitted parliament speaker Artur Baghdasarian’s Orinats Yerkir Party against its coalition partners. The paper says the Republican Party (HHK) “does not want to let Orinats Yerkir to score political points by exploiting the matter.” “Orinats Yerkir, for its part, wants to both win dividends and destroy the HHK,” it adds.

In an editorial on the start of accession talks between Turkey and the European Union, “Aravot” finds striking similarities in the positions on the issue of Armenian and Turkish nationalists. They are both opposed to Turkish entry into the EU. The difference, says the paper, is that they address their demands to different bodies. Turkish nationalist groups attack Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whereas their Armenian counterparts are trying to put pressure on the EU itself.

“Hayots Ashkhar” claims that Turkey will fail to join the EU even in ten years from now because public opinion in the bloc is increasingly hostile to Turkish membership. The paper claims that the accession talks would not have opened without U.S. pressure on the EU. It also says that Armenia and the Armenians have yet to analyze the subject in depth and determine which outcome of those talks is in their interests.

According to “Iravunk,” Armenia’s ruling factions may agree on the need to enact President Kocharian’s constitutional changes but differences among them are quite serious. “In particular, political commentators point to differences between [Defense Minister] Serzh Sarkisian and the HHK on one side and Serzh Sarkisian and [Yerevan Mayor] Yervand Zakharian on the other,” says the paper. One of their serious bones of contention is who should manage the campaign for the passage of the constitutional amendments. “Each government wing is seeking to install its man [in the job],” explains the paper.

That Zakharian’s position is in danger is also asserted by “Chorrord Ishkhanutyun.” Citing unnamed government sources, the paper says Zakharian has angered some Armenian leaders with his active involvement in the recent elections in the city’s administrative districts. “The authorities now badly need to show that the monopoly to control elections at any level in this country belongs only to the Kocharian-Sarkisian duo and, sometimes, to oligarchs close to them.”

(Atom Markarian)
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