(Saturday, August 31)
“Zhamanak” says the September 3 meeting in Moscow of the Armenian and Russian presidents will focus on Armenia’s plans to finalize the Association Agreement with the European Union at an EU summit in November. The paper says Russia is annoyed by Armenia’s European integration drive because that forces Yerevan to opt for the supremacy of law and other European values. It says Moscow will therefore go to great lengths to thwart that agreement.
Vahe Stepanian, a former justice minister, tells “168 Zham” that transition from a presidential to parliamentary republic would be good for Armenia’s democratization prospects even considering the fact that Armenian elections are still not widely seen as democratic. Stepanian argues that the parliamentary form of governance is inherently more “competitive” than the country’s current government system dominated by the president. He says this was one reason why Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili’s party was defeated in last year’s general elections.
Razmik Zohrabian, a deputy chairman of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) comments on the subject in an interview with “Hayots Ashkhar.” “My personal view is that until the threat of renewed hostilities [with Azerbaijan] is eliminated the [existing] semi-presidential system will be more effective,” he says. “Furthermore, the best variant is the presidential one. But at this point I find it hard to tell what will be decided [on constitutional reform” as a result of discussions.”