“They’ve surrendered Vano,” say “Aravot” and “Haykakan Zhamanak,” ruefully informing their readers of the parliament’s decision to strip the former minister of interior of his mandate. Both papers, which have always been rather sympathetic to Vano Siradeghian, deplore the move, blaming it on “pressure” from the government.
But one of the deputies who voted for the decision, Gurgen Yeghiazarian, denies any pressure on the deputies. “The parliament simply displayed a very serious approach to the issue this time around,” “Hayots Ashkhar” quotes him as saying. Yeghiazarian, who is one of Siradeghian’s bitter enemies, says the eight deputies who voted against the ex-minister’s ouster are “with murderers and the HHSh.”
“Aravot” notes that deputies affiliated with the Yerkrapah Union did not vote for the motion to terminate Siradeghian’s membership of the parliament “in one way or another.” The paper interprets this as their rejection of the authorities’ attempts to implicate Siradeghian in the 1999 shootings in the National Assembly.
“Iravunk” likewise observes that those deputies who were against the harsh measure are mostly businessmen, Yerkrapah members and writers. “The businessmen are themselves often absent from the sessions. For them, stripping a deputy of the mandate because of absenteeism will set an undesirable precedent. As for the Yerkrapahs, they probably recalled that before 1997 they were, in essence, in the same team with Vano.” The writers, for their part, took into consideration Siradeghian’s popularity among their colleagues. In any case, the paper concludes, the parliament vote will have no bearing on whether or not Siradeghian will be arrested and brought to justice.
“Zhamanak” continues to attack opposition leader Artashes Geghamian. It says Geghamian realized during the recent demonstration in Yerevan that the crowd does not perceive him to be the leader of the three opposition parties. The HZhK’s Stepan Demirchian is far more popular among opposition supporters. Hence, the change of his tactics. The paper says Geghamian’s actions are based on “a contradictory, unclear and absurd formula: I don’t want to destabilize the political situation in the country because that destabilization is sought by the authorities.” This behavior is “primitive and childish.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that National Democratic Union (AZhM) leader Vazgen Manukian criticized the opposition troika during a recent trip to the southeastern Syunik province. Manukian complained that the three parties are only preoccupied with the probe of the 1999 assassinations and do not feel “responsible for the country.” “This is not [a real] opposition,” he said. The AZhM leader believes that it is impossible to make things better in Armenia “through a confrontation.”