“Hayots Ashkhar” says recent days’ heavy snowfall has turned Yerevan into a “disaster zone” because of the municipal authorities’ failure to clean the streets. “It appears that the municipality is more interested in placing a particular number of flags in particular locations than in our citizens walking on the ice,” writes the paper.
“Hraparak” reports that Mayor Taron Markarian on Wednesday “hastily” sacked the head of Yerevan’s central Kentron district, Gagik Gyanjumian. The paper says new district chief, Ara Sadoyan, is only known for being the brother of Ruben Sadoyan, a parliament deputy representing a Kentron constituency and planning to again run for the National Assembly. “When the community chief is your brother, your chances of getting elected increase because so do the possibilities of exerting pressure on residents of your district,” it says.
“Yerkir” attacks the junior partners in the governing coalition, the BHK and Orinats Yerkir, for not backing opposition calls for the May parliamentary elections to be held only according to the system of proportional representation. The paper says the two parties are thus backtracking on their own pledges to help increase the number of parliament seats distributed under that system. “This stance devaluates their pre-election programs and pre-election promises and creates a perception that in real politics they are not important at all,” it says.
Interviewed by “168 Zham,” deputy parliament speaker Eduard Sharmazanov skirts a question about whether former Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian’s decision to join the BHK means that former President Robert Kocharian will seek to “intervene more actively” in the unfolding parliamentary race. Sharmazanov downplays Oskanian’s decision, saying that he is not the only former foreign minister who has returned to active politics after leaving office. “I want to see a fair contest and it will be interesting for me to work in a parliament that will have intellectual figures, former foreign ministers and other distinguished politicians,” he says.
In an interview with “Zhamanak,” Vahan Hovannisian, a leader of the opposition Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun), insists that his party is not allied with Kocharian. “We are an independent party and have existed on the Armenian political stage for 120 years,” says Hovannisian. “During a large part of those years our role was decisive … So we have always been and remain [major] actors. Therefore, we don’t need to wait for one or another politician to become active before becoming active ourselves.”