The amnesty bill passed by the Armenian parliament on Tuesday did not live up to the expectations of “Haykakan Zhamanak.” “Those who really needed pardon and clemency will not enjoy it,” the paper says in an editorial.
“Hayots Ashkhar” reports that despite their overwhelming support of the amnesty, many deputies are unhappy with its provisions. But there was little they could do to amend the government initiative. This makes the need for sweeping changes in the National Assembly all the more urgent. The paper says a de-jure disintegration of the Miasnutyun bloc and the formation of a new parliamentary majority is imperative. The Republican Party should make another attempt to team up with Dashnaktsutyun, the National Democratic Union and several other minority factions. The new majority would no doubt enjoy the backing of most independent deputies, making it able to push government initiatives through the legislature. The parliament reshuffle would have to be followed by corresponding cabinet changes. The current ministers of health, agriculture and education, who were nominated by the People’s Party (HZhK), would have to go.
But as Prime Minister Andranik Markarian tells “Zhamanak,” government doors are still not closed for the HZhK. Members of that party may get top jobs based on their professional skills, according to Markarian. The premier believes that the HZhK continues to support most of his government’s policies and is not yet prepared to turn into an opposition force. “At this stage, I don’t think that the HZhK will try to take an overtly opposition stance because there exist no such pre-requisites,” he says.
The pro-government “Zhamanak” lauds the weekend congress of Markarian’s Republican Party (HHK). The Republicans, it says, are open to “sound criticism.” In particular, they admitted that the government’s stated clampdown on corruption has so far yielded few results. While agreeing that corruption remains rampant in Armenia, Markarian says: “I don’t think that this government and these ministers are corrupt.”
“Yerkir” devotes a commentary on the ninth anniversary of the fall of the Shahumian district in the north of Nagorno-Karabakh. The Armenian-populated area, which was not part of the Soviet-era Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast, was overrun by Azerbaijani troops in the June 1992 offensive. The paper says that the current authorities in Stepanakert must regard Shahumian as part of the Karabakh republic in peace talks with Azerbaijan.
One of the leaders of the Shahumian Armenians, Petros Meghrian, complains to “Aravot” that the authorities are not willing to raise the issue during the negotiations.