“Haykakan Zhamanak” points out that the political developments in 2008 have shown that de facto there are no longer ‘elected’ posts in Armenia. The opposition daily claims that officials in all posts in Armenia – from the president to a city district mayor – are appointed and that citizens’ going to the polls only creates “an illusion of elections”.
“Hraparak” writes about the parole of Armen Sarkisian, the brother of slain prime minister Vazgen Sarkisian who had been sentenced to 10 years in prison after being convicted of masterminding the murder of a well-known journalist in December 2002: “It is obvious that a political decision had been made on him and such decisions in Armenia can be made only by one person – the president of Armenia.”
“Aravot” writes that hemorrhoids and diarrhea are some of the reasons that lawmakers cite for their absences from meetings in parliament.
“In the history of Armenia’s parliament, only one lawmaker, [fugitive interior minister] Vano Siradeghian, was deprived of his mandate for failures to attend parliament sessions. In reality, the secretary of the governing Republican Party’s faction in parliament, Samvel Nikoyan, who did not participate in the vote only once, can be considered to be the most diligent lawmaker in Armenia.”
The same paper writes that the change of parliament speaker initiated by the Republican majority requires some reasoning. “In general, it is a normal step. A political party with an outright majority in parliament has the right to initiate such reshuffles. But there is a need to inform the public as to what goals are being pursued with such a move.”
“Hayk” reports that President Serzh Sarkisian yesterday invited members of the Republican Party council to his office and in fact held an informal council meeting. The paper suggests that the only subject that could be discussed during that meeting was the removal of Tigran Torosian from the post of parliament speaker. The paper asserts that President Sarkisian had told his party that it was necessary to convince Torosian to step down voluntarily and to avoid controversies at any cost.
In an interview with “Zhamanak Yerevan” Armenia’s ex-prime minister Hrant Bagratian says: “One thing is clear to me – Robert Kocharian was engaged in enriching himself during the ten years of his presidency. The government that succeeded him is also corrupt and imposturous. Besides, the authorities got even more shameless after the March 1 events. If it continues like this, we will lose the state.”
Regarding the recent efforts of Armenia to improve relations with Turkey, Bagratian notes: “They have gone a little over the top in that. It was fine inviting President Abdullah Gul to watch a football match together, but to speak about setting up a panel [of Armenian and Turkish historians who would look into the 1915 Armenian massacres in the Ottoman Empire and jointly determine whether they consistuted a genocide] … we are already being shamed for that outside. It is not presented to people here, but internationally it has affected Armenia’s reputation.”
Deputy Parliament Speaker Hrair Karapetian, of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, tells “Hayots Ashkhar”: “Had there not been protests on the occasion of Turkish President Abdullah Gul’s visit to Yerevan, even our allies – all those civilized countries and states, their parliaments, international organizations, those progressive people who have recognized the Armenian genocide – would have been unable to understand us. Even Gul himself and the Turkish people would not have understood us, because they, too, know that there was genocide.”
Commenting on the amendments that Armenian lawmakers moved into the Law on Television and Radio on Wednesday to suspend all tenders for broadcasting licenses for nearly two years citing the need for digitalizing broadcast systems in Armenia, “168 Zham” offers the following ironic headline: “Only Responsible Air for Another Two Years.”