Interviewed by “Aravot,” the deputy speaker of the Armenian parliament, Tigran Torosian, says that the creation of new political parties by wealthy businessmen is an “unfortunate phenomenon.” “The importance of money in electoral and political processes is gradually increasing,” he says. “And if money serves as the most important factor in the next parliament, the future of both the multi-party system and Armenia may be in danger.”
But another prominent politician, Vazgen Manukian, tells “Aravot” that the political clout of oligarch Gagik Tsarukian’s Prosperous Armenia party should not be overestimated. “When a regional chieftain displays aspirations of nationwide scale, he inevitably faces resistance from another regional chieftain,” argues Manukian.
Prime Minister Andranik Markarian dodges a “Haykakan Zhamanak” question about why Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian is delaying his decision to choose a political partner for the 2007 parliamentary election. “I can’t say anything on this issue,” says Markarian. “When he says something we will comment.” Markarian also stops short of denying reports that many in his Republican Party (HHK) fear that Sarkisian’s decision to team up with another party would deal a serious blow to their election chances.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that in a statement released on Tuesday the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly’s Monitoring Committee “effectively admitted that the results of the [Armenian constitutional] referendum were falsified, that the authorities do not want to expose those falsifications.” “But our European friends are stating that implementation of provisions of that falsified constitution will foster the country’s development,” says the paper. It is convinced that the PACE will come up with a similar statement after the 2007 election to express hope that “the parliament formed as a result of vote rigging will contribute to the free and fair election of Armenia’s president.”
“In return for [Russian] gas, we must not give anything except cash,” deputy parliament speaker Vahan Hovannisian tells “Hayots Ashkhar.” “Paying with property is not quite efficient. If the price of gas goes up after all, we must consolidate our forces and compensate for that at the expense of domestic resources.” Hovannisian says those resources should be drawn from the huge informal sector of the Armenian economy.