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Press Review


“Iravunk” says pro-government politicians in Armenia have not rushed to claim credit for “the so-called victory” in the constitutional referendum. “The coalition parties and even Serzh Sarkisian are seeking to kind of distance themselves from all that, choosing to put the more-than-dubious laurels of glory for that ‘victory’ squarely on Robert Kocharian,” says the paper.

“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that opposition leaders, meanwhile, are trying to figure out “how to act in the new political situation in lengthy overnight meetings. “The opposition will take the process to the end this time around,” one of them is quoted as saying. “We will not wait until the next, 2007 elections.” The unidentified oppositionist says the opposition has designed “a clear plan of action.”

“Taregir” claims grimly that Armenians “do not bother to fight against anything.”

“Let us conclude once and for all: at this point one should not anticipate an orange revolution,” concurs another pro-opposition publication, “Chorrord Ishkhanutyun.”

“Our opposition has once again missed a chance to effect regime change,” writes “168 Zham.” The paper says that by gathering people in Yerevan and then sending them back home the opposition only increases “the already big army of citizens disappointed with it.” It also sees tactical differences among the opposition leaders. Some of them are pushing for a march towards the presidential palace in Yerevan, while others insist on the “constitutional way of political struggle.”

“There is now need to go to Baghramian Avenue,” one of them, Victor Dallakian, tells “168 Zham.” “That armed gang would again use force against the people. This would be an inadmissible adventure.”

But as Hanrapetutyun party leader Aram Sarkisian assures “Iravunk,” “We will march to Baghramian. Let them have no doubts about that.” “But we will go to Baghramian Avenue when it won’t be closed,” he adds. “Those people who don’t believe in this and think that everything must remain the same, that we should enter 2007 without changes may burn themselves.”

“Taregir” reports that Prosecutor-General Aghvan Hovsepian has written to parliament speaker Artur Baghdasarian, asking him to submit concrete facts of vote irregularities registered on November 27. A spokesman for Hovsepian is quoted as saying that the letter was sent on December 2 in response to Baghdasarian’s statement that there was ballot stuffing during the vote.

“Hayots Ashkhar” reports that Defense Minister Sarkisian asked the National Assembly on Monday to prolong Armenian military presence in Iraq by one year. Sarkisian noted that the past year has confounded critics’ warnings about possible casualties among the non-combat Armenian servicemen and retaliatory terrorist attacks against Iraq’s ethnic Armenian citizens.

“Hayastani Hanrapetutyun” quotes Prime Minister Andranik Markarian as saying that Russia’s decision to double the price of its natural gas supplied to Armenia came as a “surprise” for him. Markarian told reporters on Monday that Armenia is “not prepared” for the severe economic consequences of the price hike. “And if the gas tariffs are changed, we will try not to put the burden on our people by using our resources,” he said.

Energy Minister Armen Movsisian confirms in a “Hayots Ashkhar” interview that the higher gas price will make electricity more expensive for the population. But he says the impact of the Russian move should not be overestimated as the use of gas in power generation “has been reduced to the minimum” in Armenia.

(Hrach Melkumian)
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