“Zhoghovurd” comments on the news that a date has been set for the start of the trial of Valery Permyakov, a Russian soldier charged with murdering the seven members of an Armenian family in Gyumri. It says that such haste is likely to be conditioned by the desire of the Armenian authorities to have the trial completed before Surb Khach, a religious festival observed by Armenian Christians in mid-September after which the dead are remembered. “It is clear that Surb Khach and Dead Remembrance Day that follows this festival have a distinguished importance in Armenia. It is beyond doubt that people in Gyumri and throughout Armenia will give a special significance to this coming Surb Khach in view of the January slaughter of the Avetisian family. So, it is only natural that the authorities should be striving for Permyakov’s trial to be completed or enter its final stages by that time so that there is no doubt left among the public that he will face the highest punishment – life imprisonment.”
“Zhamanak” argues that ahead of the next electoral cycle the Armenian authorities have managed to push into the background the really important “economic, legal, social, security and foreign-policy problems” facing Armenia. “The government clearly has no resources and the main solution for them, in fact, is to make these issues secondary and focus on the issue of the constitutional reform, which is a process that has nothing to do with the society,” the daily writes.
In an interview with “Haykakan Zhamanak” political analyst Stepan Grigorian singles out a number of controversial provisions in the set of constitutional amendments presented by the authorities. One of them, according to him, is the abolishment of the direct popular election of the president and the formation of electoral colleges instead. “There are two state institutions that should be elected by the people – the parliament and the president. Now there will be no presidential elections as such, which I do not consider to be right no matter how narrow the scope of presidential powers will be,” Grigorian says, adding that the provision on forming a “stable majority” in the parliament changes the essence of parliamentarianism as the diversity of political parties vanishes.
On the same subject “Hraparak” talks to opposition lawmaker Tevan Poghosian, who says: “Before the issue of trust is solved, any Constitution – be it the world’s best one – will not matter, because the reality and that text will have nothing in common. Suppose we put this new draft Constitution to vote. Will there be any confidence that the “yes” votes will be “yes” votes and the “no” votes will be “no” votes? If that is not the choice of the people, then how what is written there can make a difference?”