“Hayastani Hanrapetutyun” runs a rare interview with President Robert Kocharian’s wife Bella. “I feel a lot of responsibility for the country,” she says. “I feel my personal participation in all that and am not indifferent to what will happen in two years time. I am thinking about what will happen when there is another president [of Armenia]. I would like to see a continuity of times.”
“168 Zham” says the election of Tigran Torosian, a senior member of Prime Minister Andranik Markarian’s Republican Party, as parliament speaker does not mean a change in the “balance of forces” within Armenia’s leadership. “One way or another, power in the Republic of Armenia is tightly concentrated in the hands of a political force and that force is not a party,” writes the paper.
“Hayots Ashkhar” speculates that the Orinats Yerkir party of ex-speaker Artur Baghdasarian could steal some of the disaffected Armenians’ votes from Artashes Geghamian’s National Unity Party in next year’s election. “This is a serious threat for National Unity also because the so-called Geghamian electorate is pronounced but at the same time very limited. Its further fracture becomes a deadly threat [for Geghamian.]”
Hovannes Markarian, a senior member of Orinats Yerkir, tells “Aravot” that a total of 84 people have left the party in recent weeks. He claims another 1,800 people have joined Orinats Yerkir during the same period.
The 11 eleven parliamentarians who defected from Orinats Yerkir have set up a faction called Gortsarar (Entrepreneur.) “Haykakan Zhamanak” calls the name “absurd,” saying that the Armenian constitution explicitly forbids members of parliament from doing business. The paper also notes that only one of the companies owned by members of that faction is on the list of Armenia’s 1,000 largest corporate taxpayers. “It can be asserted for certain that deputies affiliated with this group will strive to root out the shadow sector of the Armenian economy,” its concludes with sarcasm.
In an interview with “168 Zham,” another wealthy parliamentarian, Khachatur Sukiasian, takes issue with Prime Minister Markarian’s recent remark that Armenian businessmen can not be in opposition to the ruling regime. Sukiasian says he will not hesitate to pour scorn on any government officials who will “take wrong steps vis-à-vis this state.” Every Armenian citizen must behave in the same manner, he says.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that the deputy chairman of Armenia’s Constitutional Court, Vladimir Hovannisian, has stepped down due to his “reservations” about a new Armenian law regulating the work of the court.