“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that the Armenian parliament passed in the first reading on Tuesday a government bill that envisages an almost threefold decrease in import duties on cigars. “The thing is that showing particular interest in cigar business is the leader of the United Labor Party (MAK) faction in the National Assembly, Gurgen Arsenian,” explains the paper. “The MAK, as is known, has acquired the status of a Robert Kocharian support base, replacing Orinats Yerkir.” Arsenian, it says, has thus been handsomely compensated for his decision to join the government.
“We must thank the MAK faction for assuming certain responsibility [for the government’s activities],” Galust Sahakian, a close associate of Prime Minister Andranik Markarian, tells “Hayots Ashkhar.”
The People’s Deputy group has decided not share such responsibility and one of its members, Mkrtich Minasian, explains to “Hayots Ashkhar” why. “We refrained from assuming political posts because for objective reasons we, as a political unit, won’t be able to deliver results commensurate with that responsibility during the one year remaining [before the next parliamentary election],” says Minasian.
“Aravot” says Artur Baghdasarian’s decision to resign as parliament speaker and pull out his Orinats Yerkir party out of the governing coalition is “worthy of some respect” regardless of its motives. “Even assuming that Orinats Yerkir has been planted [in the opposition camp], such a switch requires a lot of political courage in our political reality,” comments the paper. It says few in Armenia would agree to give up lucrative government posts in return for hypothetical future benefits.
“Azg” notes that the Republican and Dashnaktsutyun parties continue to portray Orinats Yerkir’s exit from power as a “normal” political development. Both parties also refrain from getting involved in the war of words between Orinats Yerkir and some opposition leaders. “They are simply enjoying it,” says the paper.
“The screening of pre-election political TV series has already begun in the parliament,” comments “Hayastani Hanrapetutyun.” “Participants of the new series have not said how many episodes the viewers, namely the people and the journalists, should expect.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” says both Baghdasarian and opposition leader Artashes Geghamian are making valid arguments in their bitter spat. “Artur Baghdasarian is certainly responsible for what happened in the presidential and parliamentary elections of 2003. The same applies to the referendum of 2005. Artashes Geghamian is responsible for what happened in the 2003 presidential election. That is, both sides to the war of words have catered for the regime’s interests and had direct ties with Serzh Sarkisian.”