(Saturday, August 29)
“Hraparak” reports that former Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian is poised to set up a new political party several months after leaving Gagik Tsarukian’s Prosperous Armenia (BHK) party. The paper says that Oskanian did not deny this when he was contacted by one of its correspondents. It says that the new opposition party, it is indeed set up, will attract quite a few BHK members unhappy with the cautious position of the current BHK leadership.
1in.am believes that President Serzh Sarkisian’s latest political consultations with a dozen or so opposition and pro-government parties did not legitimize the controversial constitutional reform planned by him. The online journal argues that both the presidential administration and those parties are keeping the Armenian public in the dark about details of their negotiations.
“Hraparak” notes that some opposition leaders who now seem ready to endorse Sarkisian’s constitutional changes were calling for an anti-government popular revolt just a few months ago. The paper considers their sudden change of attitude to be another indication of an ongoing degradation of the Armenian political scene.
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” challenges Sarkisian to dispel opposition concerns stemming from the constitutional reform sought by him. In particular, the pro-opposition paper directly asks him to clarify whether he will become parliament speaker or remain chairman of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) after completing his final presidential term in 2018.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that the Armenian customs service has stopped publishing detailed quarterly reports on Armenia’s foreign trade. The paper says the service has issued no such reports since Armenia joined the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) in January. It speculates that the Armenian authorities are unwilling to expose less than favorable economic consequences of Armenia’s accession to the EEU.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” also reports that Science and Education Minister Armen Ashotian has defended the quality of education in Armenia’s state-run schools while admitting that his two sons study in a private school. Speaking to the paper, Ashotian says this does not mean that he lacks trust in public schools. He argues that Armenians do not expect their minister of economy, for instance, to wear only Armenian-made suits.