“168 Zham” reports that parliament speaker Tigran Torosian has said in an interview with a French-Armenian magazine that the next president of Armenia will be affiliated with a political party. “It was very important that the parties which supported Robert Kocharian filled the political arena and the existing lack of democracy,” Torosian is quoted as saying. “Because they are the ones that had political experience. I must say that that hasn’t quite happened.”
Torosian also found nothing wrong in the presence of numerous businessmen in Armenia’s parliament. “If the presence of businessmen in parliament posed a danger to a country, then Italy should have disappeared from the world map long ago,” he says.
Aram Sarkisian, leader of the radical opposition Hanrapetutyun (Republic) party, comments in “Aravot” on yet another political alliance between an Armenian prime minister and defense minister. “It is evident to me that when the defense minister and the prime minister become a single person in the third Armenian republic that is directed against the president,” he says. “It is obvious that Robert Kocharian does not want to leave politics and that he will be a very weak prime minister under a President Serzh Sarkisian. Like it or not, and Robert Kocharian is well aware of that, Mr. Kocharian found himself in the position of the Queen of England on July 22, 2006 [during a congress of Sarkisian’s Republican Party] because any village mayor or even a member of a village council who is pro-government does not see Vartan Oskanian or David Harutiunian as a future president.”
“Armenia is becoming Sicily,” “Azg” writes, reporting on the latest contract killings in Armenia. “News of yet another brutal killing has come to prove we do not, after all, lag behind the criminal capitals of the world. As it turns out, a senior police official was not quite right to assert that a rise in the crime rate here mainly resulted from petty social crimes.”
“Zhamanak Yerevan” reports on what it describes as a “strict censorship” facing the Armenian television channels, saying that Kocharian’s press secretary, Victor Soghomonian, personally oversees their news coverage. “Every morning the heads of news and some other programs of all TV companies phone His Excellency Victor Soghomonian and report on what will go on their ‘free and responsible’ air on that particular day,” claims the paper. It says Soghomonian has to approves not only the selection of news reports but also the guests of talk shows.