(Saturday, July 21)
“Aravot” commends the outgoing Nagorno-Karabakh President Arkady Ghukasian for his decision not to seek a third term in office and says it must serve as a good example for Armenia’s leaders. “We don’t seem to have heard such explicit assurances from Robert Kocharian, which gives rise to certain suspicions: maybe the Armenian president will cunningly find some legal loopholes to cling to power,” editorializes the paper. “In this sense, Karabakh is one step ahead of Armenia in building a democratic state.”
“Aravot” is also impressed by the fact that Masis Mayilian, the defeated candidate in the Karabakh presidential election, quickly conceded defeat and congratulated the winner, Bako Sahakian. “This is an example of political culture which Armenia can not boast to have had for the past 17 years,” it says. “These two facts leave some hope that maybe something good will come out of Karabakh for Armenia this time around.”
“Today our society does not consider the opposition to be an influential force,” writes “Hayots Ashkhar.” Nevertheless, says the pro-government paper, the participation of opposition candidates in next year’s presidential election is “necessary for the country.” Not because any of them is capable of defeating the candidate of power but because their presidential run would make Armenia more democratic and civilized, explains “Hayots Ashkhar.”
According to “Haykakan Zhamanak,” Kocharian’s Friday meeting with Armenian judges was prompted by the sensational acquittal of two businessmen who had been arrested after alleging high-level government corruption. The paper claims Kocharian warned the judges against handing down such rulings in the future. It fears that the Court of Appeals will now overturn the acquittal and send the businessmen back to jail.
“Such meetings testify to only one thing: Mr. Kocharian holds all of these individuals and levers in his hands,” comments “Zhamanak Yerevan.” “These are all his obedient and loyal subordinates, regardless of their status and organizational structure.” The paper claims that judges themselves admit their strong dependence on the government and Kocharian in particular.
“168 Zham” says a recent rise in the price of bread in Armenia was “not justified” and could have been avoided, saying that may have indeed been connected with the May 12 parliamentary elections. The paper points to speculation that wealthy wheat importers that spent heavily on the election campaign and the vote itself are now recouping their investments.