The 'Aravot' daily carries an interview with Vahe Gabrielian, the spokesman of the Armenian president. Commenting on Robert Kocharian's decree on demoting General Vagharshak Harutiunian, the presidential spokesman tells 'Aravot' that Army officers can not be involved in politics. A general on active duty has no right to participate in political rallies and demonstrations, during which there is a call for the resignation of the president, who is the commander-in-chief of the army. A general can't insult his commander-in-chief in newspapers interviews, Vahe Gabrielian explains. "Now he is free to engage in politics and to say whatever he wants to say", Vahe Gabrielian told 'Aravot', meaning that the presidential decree stripped the former minister of Defense from all his military ranks.
'Orran' and 'Aravot' published a statement by the 'Hanrapetutyun' party. "Political, propagandistic hysteria against Vagharshak Harutyunian and the decree of Robert Kocharian on striping him of all military ranks, is nothing but psychological, moral and judicial terror against an individual", the statement says. The statement signed by the leading members of the opposition party, including Vagharshak Harutyunian, describes presidential the decree as an
attempt to create an administrative-powerful fist on the eve of the presidential elections, which would insure victory for the current president. The country could face a dangerous situation, in which the peaceful political environment would be replaced with an atmosphere of violent confrontation, the statement warns.
The deputy chairman of HHSh party Andranik Hovakimian tells 'Aravot' that Levon Ter-Petrosian has not said anything yet about his possible candiadicy for next year's presidential election. But if he decides not to run for presidency then other candidates from HHSh would run for presidency. He declined to comment whether former minister of interior Vano Siradeghian, who has been a fugitive abroad, could run for the country's top job.
In an interview with 'Iravunk', the chairman of the National Security party Garnik Isagulian predicts that the main struggle in the upcoming presidential election would be between HHSh and Robert Kocharian. Today, they have equal chances. Kocharian did not manage to form a team, which would help him to launch a clear campaign and win the elections. The opposition in contrast, has a clear strategy and is very active, Isagulian says.
'Hayots Ashkhar' quoting Armenian and Azerbaijani statements on the
possibility of a land swap between the two countries, concludes that Meghri has become a common means for the opposition in Armenia and Azerbaijan to fight their governments. The governments in both countries constantly reject reports on a possible exchange of territories. There are serious outside forces, which are pushing the pedals from time to time turning the Meghri issue into a destabilizing factor between Armenia and Azerbaijan, 'Hayots Ashkhar' writes, adding that HHSh is the only force in Armenia which supports the outside forces.
'Azg' reports that by the request of Interpol, police on in Cyprus arrested a citizen of Armenia Hovsep Galustian on Thursday, who was the major shareholder and CEO of Yerevan Union Bank. The paper reports that Hovsep Galustian was sought by the Armenian authorities for stealing $160 million.