“Azg” writes that deputies of the Armenian parliament have gone on vacation which they do not deserve. “Debates on many bills are being delayed for years. Although a number of important laws were passed at this session, they don’t have a systemic character. As a rule, political forces manage to impose something on the [parliament] majority only after collecting sufficient signatures to force an emergency sitting, which, if necessary, can be scuttled by Miasnutyun.” The paper calls, in particular, for quick passage of laws on political parties and civil service.
Robert Kocharian denied on Thursday reports that the so-called Venice commission of the Council of Europe which oversees political reforms in Armenia has criticized a government bill on civil service. But “Haykakan Zhamanak” insists that the commission’s conclusion is indeed negative. The paper says Kocharian either misunderstood the verdict or wants to mislead the public.
“Under the guise of creating a ‘strong state system,’ all levers [of power] are being legally given to the country’s president,” writes “Aravot.” The recently passed law on television and radio and the draft law on civil service are perfect examples of that.
“Hayots Ashkhar” laments the difficulty with which it tries to distinguish between Armenia’s main political organizations. Not only are the ideological differences between them “blurred” but also one finds it hard to understand which party is in opposition to the ruling regime. Many parties hope that this “amorphous situation” will enable them to “stay in politics” after the parliamentary elections of 2003.
“Zhamanak” attacks opposition parties for the absence of “real fundamental principles.” Their activities are a spate of mistakes.
Gagik Poghosian, a former minister for state revenues and currently an adviser of Prime Minister Andranik Markarian, ponders the present state of public administration in Armenia and ways of improving it, in an interview with “Hayots Ashkhar.” Top civil servants, he says, are not interested in “radical change” for fear of losing their privileged position. Poghosian cites the brings the example of the ministry for state revenues to substantiate his case. Almost none of the employees of Armenia’s tax collecting agency got their lucrative jobs without important government connections, he says. They therefore have no reason to serve the state. Poghosian is also extremely skeptical about effects of a law on corruption which is currently in the works. A special anti-corruption agency to be set up under the legislation will be “ineffectual.” “Who will fight against corruption when it is rife in all [government] structures?” Poghosian asks.