March 22, Wednesday
According to “Haykakan Zhamanak”, Justice Minister David Harutiunian made a sensational statement at the Constitutional Court on Tuesday saying that alienation of citizens’ property for ‘state needs’ cannot pursue business purposes. The paper draws a conclusion interpreting the minister’s words as proof that the eviction of many residents in central Yerevan from their housing was simply illegal.
In this regard “Hayots Ashkhar” finds that the so-called elite buildings to be raised in the place of demolished houses serve not the declared ‘exclusive public needs’ but the narrow interests of private businesses.
“Aravot” continues the subject writing that “unfortunately in our reality the lands seized under the guise of ‘state needs’ are used for the construction of gas stations, casinos and underground pools.”
“Azg” writes about the “first serious test” for the newly elected Ombudsman Armen Harutiunian, as he for the first time represented the interests of ordinary people and not of the president. “And despite the fact that the Justice Minister’s car was waiting for Harutiunian outside after the end of the Constitutional Court meeting, ex-officio from now on he will be defending the interests of the public whether he wants it or not.”
“Aravot” writes that People’s Deputy group leader Karen Karapetian yesterday denied reports about his plans to set up a party on the basis of the parliamentary group he heads. The paper quotes Karapetian as saying: “I have not yet made up my mind on establishing a party or affiliating myself with any party. And if any of the group’s members decide to do that, I will only welcome this step. Any member is free in making decisions.”
The Hrazdan thermal power plant has requested the Public Services Regulatory Commission to raise by about 90 percent the tariff for its high-voltage electric power, writes “Haykakan Zhamanak” quoting Commission Deputy Chairman Nikolay Grigorian. The official of the state regulatory body adds that the Yerevan thermal power station is likely to make a similar request one of these days. According to Grigorian, no matter when the tariff is discussed, any new tariff will be applied no sooner than June 1.
“Hayots Ashkhar” presents details from Tuesday’s press conference of Deputy Parliament Speaker Vahan Hovannisian, who recently returned from the Moscow sitting of the Armenian-Russian inter-parliamentary commission for cooperation. The paper writes that negotiations with the Russian side for a lower gas price are continuing, but Hovannisian agrees with the opinion that this problem may cause a rise of anti-Russian sentiments in Armenia.
On the same subject, “Haykakan Zhamanak” quotes Hovannisian as admitting that there is a growing anti-Armenian sentiment in Armenia both among politicians and ordinary residents as a result of the increase in the gas price and other Russian steps not in favor of Armenia. “Pro-Russian attitudes give way to pragmatism and if there are many imprudent elements in Russian policy, they will result in changes not in favor of Russia,” the paper cites the deputy speaker’s statement.
Drawing parallels between the U.S. response to the presidential elections in Belarus and Armenia, a “Haykakan Zhamanak” analyst emphasizes: “Cheating is obvious here. Even the Belarus opposition admits that Alexander Lukashenko received 40 or more percent of the vote, while in Armenia Robert Kocharian himself realizes that he did not gather more than 15 percent of the popular vote. But in Belarus, the U.S. does not recognize the election outcome, while it did accept the results of the presidential vote in Armenia saying that ‘let the people themselves decide whether they accept the election outcome or not.’”