(Saturday, May 20)
“Haykakan Zhamanak” quotes Dashnaktsutyun leader Vahan Hovannisian as saying that Gegham Manukian, director of the Dashnaktsutyun-controlled Yerkir-Media television, will fill one of the nationalist party’s vacant parliament seats even if he does not want to. Manukian has reportedly ruled out such possibility, saying that he prefers to continue to run the TV channel. But as Hovannisian points out, “If it is decided [by Dashnaktsutyun] that Gegham Manukian must become a swimming champion, he will become a swimming champion.”
“Aravot” reports that Culture Minister Gevorg Gevorgian is also set to lose his job despite his decision to sever links with Artur Baghdasarian’s Orinats Yerkir party. The paper says the Armenian authorities have promised to give the post of culture minister to the pro-presidential United Labor Party.
According to “Haykakan Zhamanak,” another parliamentary force, the People’s Deputy group, has still not decided whether to join Robert Kocharian’s coalition cabinet. One of its members, Hakob Hakobian, is against the idea of People’s Deputy members taking over as deputy speaker of the National Assembly, chairman of one of its committees or deputy governor of a province. “There is very little time left before the next election, and if we take up those posts we will have to show the people how successful we have been in doing our job,” argues Hakobian. “But during such a short period of time we will simply be unable to present our work to the people … Furthermore, we will have to shoulder responsibility for the deeds of our predecessors.”
Hakobian also tells the paper that he would like Galust Sahakian, leader of the governing Republican Party’s parliament faction, to become the next parliament speaker. He praises Sahakian as a “balanced individual” who has “absolutely no ambitions.” “I am sure Galust would make a great chairman of the National Assembly,” he says. “As for [another Republican leader] Tigran Torosian, we have seen his performance in the post of deputy speaker, and I think that is the maximum of his capabilities.”
Meanwhile, People’s Deputy leader Karen Karapetian assures “168 Zham” that he is not formally affiliated with the Assembly for Armenia party widely linked to Prosecutor-General Aghvan Hovsepian. He says he will also not make “serious financial investments” in this or any other party. “This is not business, this is politics,” says Karapetian. “My support for the party will mainly come in the form of human resources.”
Opposition leader Aram Karapetian tells “168 Zham” that he will not consider Artur Baghdasarian to be in opposition to the ruling regime as long as the outgoing parliament speaker refuses to publicly criticize Kocharian.