“Aravot” reports that President Robert Kocharian urgently phoned leaders of his governing coalition from Sweden late Wednesday to discuss their unexpected failure to appoint his adviser Armen Harutiunian as Armenia’s new human rights ombudsperson. “In a quite strict tone, he ordered them to put an end to games and ‘pass Armen,’” says the paper.
“168 Zham” claims that the parliament’s failure to elect Harutiunian marked Kocharian’s “second disgraceful defeat this year.” Kocharian first defeat, it says, was his failure to install Radik Martirosian as head of the supervisory board of Yerevan State University. “Interestingly, in one case the voters were representatives of the executive branch, while in the other [they represented] the legislative branch. In essence, the two government branches are clearly showing Robert Kocharian a [warning] yellow card.”
But another commentary in the same paper suggests only “technical” reasons for the coalition’s failure to push through Harutiunian. “That is, the coalition did not organize the process properly,” it says.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” says the Armenian opposition has little to do with the parliament fiasco. “It is evident that the reason for what happened is differences that have emerged in the government camp,” says the paper. “We witnessed a similar phenomenon in the election of the YSU board chairman when Radik Martirosian, who had received Robert Kocharian’s go-ahead, failed to get elected.”
Opposition lawmaker Victor Dallakian tells “168 Zham” that by refusing to vote for Harutiunian some of his pro-establishment colleagues “revolted against a candidate foisted upon them.” “Deputies simply do not want to bow to pressure,” he says. Dallakian believes that the parliament vote showed that the coalition can not always get its way.
According to “Aravot,” about 90 pro-government deputies had earlier pledged to elect Harutiunian. “According to some claims, the reason for the failure to elect Armen Harutiunian was much more prosaic. Some didn’t like it when the candidate noted [in parliament] that those of them who believe that he would a [Kocharian] stooge should not vote for him. And so deputies did not vote for him because they wanted a stooge,” the paper writes mockingly.
“The problem is in the coalition and this is not the first time that I am saying that,” Vahram Baghdasarian, secretary of the parliament’s People’s Deputy group, tells “Hayots Ashkhar.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” quotes Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian as telling reporters on Wednesday that he is delaying with the announcement of his 2007 election plans due to an unspecified “problem.” Sarkisian refused to elaborate.
“Azg” writes that heavy snowfalls have turned Yerevan into a “city dotted with snow mountains.” “But the impression is that the Yerevan municipality and district prefects do not quite care about that,” complains the paper. It alleges that most of the public funds earmarked for cleaning streets from the snow are “undoubtedly” embezzled by city officials.