The Armenian parliament’s refusal to revoke the mandate of former interior minister Vano Siradeghian makes the main headlines in Friday’s newspapers. “Yerkir” comments that Thursday’s vote showed that helping establish justice is not the chief priority of most parliamentarians. “It turned out that Siradeghian has numerous disguised supporters in the parliament,” the paper writes, suggesting that lawmakers did not want to setting a precedent. They apparently feared they may one day find themselves in Siradeghian’s situation. This raises the question of whether the country needs such a legislature.
“Hayots Ashkhar” is more certain on that score, saying that the parliament “signed its own death verdict” and “must be dissolved right away.” “Deputies yesterday publicly declared that a criminal should continue to stay in their ranks. Doesn’t that mean that they, too, are criminals?”
“Vano is dragging the parliament into absolute disgrace,” agrees “Azg.” “The parliament showed its real face, proving that it does sponsor Siradeghian.” The paper says the leadership of the parliament and the largest Miasnutyun bloc are to blame for the failure of the anti-Siradeghian initiative. The secret ballot revealed their inability to control the situation in the National Assembly.
“Aravot” writes that the parliament’s failure to expel the fugitive former minister will be heavily exploited by the authorities and their propaganda machine. It gives them an opportunity to distract public attention from the September 25 killing committed by Robert Kocharian’s security guards. The paper is convinced that the deputies eventually will be forced to end Siradeghian’s membership of the parliament.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” draws readers’ attention to a remark made on Thursday by a bitter enemy of Siradeghian, opposition deputy Aghasi Arshakian. Arshakian said that the “sins” of the current authorities already outweigh those of their predecessors.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” continues to cover the nationwide anti-Kocharian campaign conducted by the People’s Party of Armenia (HZhK) and the Hanrapetutyun and National Unity parties. HZhK leader Stepan Demirchian toured on Thursday the northern Lori province. Demirchian said in a speech there that Armenian politicians must make a choice between supporting “authorities harboring murderers” and siding with “the people.”