(Saturday, December 16)
“All those who doubted that the founder and the real leader of Prosperous Armenia [party] is Robert Kocharian were yesterday able to dispel those doubts,” “Zhamanak Yerevan” writes, commenting on the Armenian president’s Friday televised comments. Kocharian’s message, according to the paper, boiled down to the following: “Prosperous Armenia enjoys public sympathy and support, and if he ensures a desirable number of votes for that party during the parliamentary elections, he will not end up as a political pensioner after the presidential elections.”
“Robert Kocharian yesterday not only officially confirmed his preferred trio of political forces, not only stated the composition of the future government and parliament, but also sent a number of messages to the opposition,” editorializes “Haykakan Zhamanak.” The paper says Kocharian made it clear that he wants to see the following parties win seats in the next National Assembly: the Republican Party of Armenia (HHK), Prosperous Armenia, Dashnaktsutyun and the United Labor Party. “In essence, the other parties are delicately advised to close their offices and go home,” it says.
“Hayk” claims that the Armenian authorities are considering dismissing the national police chief Hayk Harutiunian and the head of the National Security Service, Gorik Hakobian. The paper cites unnamed “sources close to the government” as saying that Hakobian’s potential replacement is Armen Avetisian, head of the State Customs Committee. “There is also talk of Aghvan Hovsepian possibly bidding farewell to the post of prosecutor-general,” it says, adding that the governors of two other Armenian regions are also facing dismissal.
“Aravot” presents what it believes are glaring differences between the mentality and behavior of the average Armenian and the European. “If the European’s relative is taken to the police or the prosecutor’s office, he thinks about how to find a good lawyer in order to defend his relative in the best possible way,” says the paper. “If the Armenian’s relative finds himself in a police station, he scrambles to find an acquaintance who will help him pay a bribe to a prosecutor or police investigator in order to free his relative. If the European does not like the laws of his country, he tries to change them by means of political and public organizations. If the Armenian finds laws bad, he does everything to circumvent those laws. When a European country is to hold elections, the European asks, ‘Whom should we elect?’ The questioned asked during the same period in Armenia is ‘Who will pass?’”