March 21, Tuesday
“Iravunk” publishes answers to the questions of its readers provided by Artarutyun parliamentary faction leader Stepan Demirchian. In answering the questions the opposition leader, in particular, stresses: “We cannot and simply have no right to put up with the current situation, and we do not consider our number one goal to appear in the next National Assembly. Our goal is to achieve drastic changes in the country.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” tells of its futile attempts to reach former chief of presidential staff Artashes Tumanian on the phone to ask him to confirm or deny the reports that he had been summoned to the national security service and police. But, the paper writes, just like it was during the last several weeks his mobile phone did not answer ordinary calls. The paper claims that when they died Tumanian’s number from a phone with the number that in Armenian reality could belong to a senior police official, a miracle happened – Tumanian answered the call. “Of course, when he understood who the caller was he was deeply disappointed, and only categorically denied these reports, and then switched off his phone. In any case, what happened leaves room for much thought,” the paper concludes.
“Iravunk” writes that after a long absence MP Alexander Sarkisian, the brother of powerful Defense Minster Serzh Sarkisian, was again noticed in the National Assembly. To a reporter’s question whether he was going to participate in next year’s parliamentary elections, Alexander Sarkisian gave a short but resolute answer: “Of course, I will.”
In “Haykakan Zhamanak”, responding to opposition leader Artashes Geghamian’s hint that ‘some people are building homes for Africans and Mexicans using unknown, or rather well-known funds’, Alexander Sarkisian notes: “Still before becoming a member of parliament I was engaged in business and had money. Every year I fill in a declaration of property, and that’s nobody’s business to interfere in my personal affairs, especially as the declaration of property is secret. There are tax bodies, and if they had found something false in what I declared, they would have attended to it without fail.”
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun”, in its turn, continues the subject, saying that the Armenian version of declaring property by officials is worth paying attention to. “These documents are not subject to publication and the public cannot get acquainted with them; no one has the right to verify or check these declarations, everything is left to officials’ conscience,” the paper writes.
“Azg” writes that 48 percent of Armenia’s people do not trust the National Assembly, 39 percent do not trust the government, however believe in the army, church and the media. The paper cites the data from a survey of households conducted by the National Statistics Service with the assistance of the World Bank.
“Hayastani Hanrapetutyun”, in its turn, reports that an increase has been registered in the number of cases filed from Armenia to the European Court of Human Rights: 340 in 2005, compared with 122 in 2004 and 89 in 2003.
Meanwhile, “Azg” writes that Armenians began to write letters to Strasbourg with the same enthusiasm with which letters were written to the Emperor in Tsarist Russia or to the Kremlin during the Soviet years. “The European Court is a totally new reality in Armenian life, and expectations and hopes from it are high,” the paper concludes.