(Saturday, June 10)
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” reports that the Armenian Ministry of Justice is insisting on its proposed reform that would curtail the legal powers of the Prosecutor-General’s Office. Justice Minister David Harutiunian and his aides believe that pre-trial investigations must largely be conducted by the police and other security agencies. “If this becomes reality, the prosecutor’s office will turn into an ordinary state institution, something like the Ministry of Environment,” comments the paper. It says Prosecutor-General Aghvan Hovsepian is resisting the proposed changes and has opened criminal cases against some of Harutiunian’s close associates.
“Golos Armenii” says that the Association for Armenia party, which is believed to be sponsored by Hovsepian, may soon find itself at odds with the Prosperous Armenia party of oligarch Gagik Tsarukian. The paper claims that their rapid expansion across the country is already cause for serious concern for other government factions. “On the other hand, the two newly established parties are actively competing against each other for voter support, as a result of which mistrust in the prosecutor-general is increasing,” it says. Either the government factions will agree to divide territorial “zones of influence” or the 2007 elections will be marred by serious trouble, according to “Golos Armenii.”
“Those political forces that never criticize the president are quasi-opposition,” a senior member of the governing Republican Party (HHK), Armen Ashotian, is quoted by “Aravot” as saying. This tactic, he says, is a mere “attempt to win over the opposition electorate during the pre-election period.” Ashotian refuses to specify if he means the Orinats Yerkir Party of former parliament speaker Artur Baghdasarian.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that Orinats Yerkir has just inaugurated its newly built headquarters in Yerevan, estimating its market value at $1 million. “Business-deputies who have left Orinats Yerkir insist that work on the building’s interior was carried out solely with their funding,” says the paper. It says the premises will have a fitness center and even a jazz club.
“Azg” says that despite pressure from the Council of Europe the Armenian authorities will not make important changes in the formation of their National Commission on Television and Radio. The paper says they will make sure that only loyal companies get broadcasting licenses.