“Hayots Ashkhar” rounds on opposition groups that have condemned the authorities over the release of six parliament suspects. The pro-presidential paper accuses them of spreading “blatant lies” about the case of the parliament shootings, singling out the statement by the opposition Hanrapetutyun party. Why are Hanrapetutyun leaders convinced that Robert Kocharian’s opinion about circumstances of the crime is at odds with public opinion? Why didn’t any deputy from the People’s Party or the Yerkrapah Union vote against the proposed amnesty that paved the way for the release. This “hysteria” instigated by Hanrapetutyun and the HZhK pursues political aims, the paper concludes.
A senior HZhK member, Vartan Mkrtchian, tells “Aravot” that his party did not join the Hanrapetutyun statement because it felt responsible for the passage of the amnesty bill. The two dozen HZhK deputies did not even attempt to block the initiative, Mkrtchian explains.
“Aravot” reports that the Miasnutyun faction in the parliament, divided over a controversial government bill on civil service, appears to have decided “not to rush” with putting the legislation to debate in the National Assembly. The majority faction seems to advocate more amendments in the bill and defer the debates until next fall.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” says the bill was on Friday discussed by the parliament committee on state and legal affairs. A senior HZhK deputy, Stepan Zakarian, accused the government of helping Kocharian to “usurp power which is not vested in him by the constitution.” The bill is totally unconstitutional, Zakarian said. To this, committee chairman Victor Dallakian replied that if the Constitutional Court finds that the draft indeed runs counter to the basic law, the parliament will have serious grounds to impeach Kocharian. But Kim Balayan of the Dashnaktsutyun faction objected that the parliament can oust the president only if the latter is found guilty of high treason or other serious crime. The paper thinks that most deputies will still vote for the bill because “they don’t take the constitution and the threat of dictatorship seriously.”
“Zhamanak” casts doubt on the tax authorities’ claims about a major clampdown on the shadow sector of the economy. The paper says it does not see how Minister for State Revenues Andranik Manukian is dealing with major tax evaders. “It is hard to understand what those anti-shadow steps are.” In this regard, the paper advises the authorities to consider replicating a recent decision by Serbia’s parliament to levy heavy taxes from fortunes made under Slobodan Milosevic, the deposed former president of Yugoslavia. The assumption behind the extraordinary move was that most of the money was made by Milosevic’s cronies who cashed in on the former strongman’s grip on power.
“Yerkir” attacks the ArmenTel telecommunications company for its alleged reluctance to “listen to the opinion of their Armenian partners.” ArmenTel’s new tough-talking CEO, Nikos Georgioulas, is accused of trying to “replace the ongoing Armenian-Greek dialogue with a Greek monologue.”