“The delegation representing a parliament elected with fraud can not be considered legitimate, at least by the Council of Europe,” writes “Azg,” commenting on the threats to strip Armenian lawmakers of their voting rights in the council’s Parliamentary Assembly. “Why did they condemn the country to such a situation when it was possible to hold normal elections?…Who will be held accountable?”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that opposition leader Stepan Demirchian has effectively confirmed through a spokeswoman that he will join the Armenian delegation in the PACE this fall. She says Demirchian is “the de facto elected president” of Armenia and does not want to “isolate himself” from important events affecting his country. “The voice of the Armenian people should be heard in the European structures as well. The interests of the Armenian people must be protected. Only the person who got the popular vote of confidence can do that.”
“Hayots Ashkhar” quotes the deputy speaker of the parliament, Tigran Torosian, as renewing his calls for dialogue between the authorities and the opposition. “True, it is going to be very difficult in the existing situation,” Torosian says. “But there is no other way out. A settlement of this problem should facilitate the country’s development. It is even more important than the implementation of economic program and reforms in various areas.”
“The plan of action of the coalition government does not include the lion’s share of Orinats Yerkir’s pre-election promises,” says “Aravot.” The government, for example, does not promise to return Soviet-era bank deposits or lower tariffs for irrigation water. The paper accuses Orinats Yerkir of duping those Armenians who voted for the party in the May 25 elections.
“Azg” also uses the issue of bank deposits to accuse Orinats Yerkir of unprecedented populism and demagogy. The paper says parliament speaker Artur Baghdasarian and other Orinats Yerkir leaders who got ministerial jobs will surely feel embarrassed every time they are reminded of that promise. But, it says, Orinats Yerkir has “a lot of experience with populism” and may soon take credit for the impending creation by the Armenian Central Bank of a special deposit insurance fund.
In an interview with “Hayots Ashkhar,” opposition leader Vazgen Manukian says the pro-establishment parties making up the current government can not make good on their pledge to reduce corruption just because they themselves broke the law in this year’s elections. “Corruption is not in the lower levels of our society,” Manukian says. “I still don’t see a reason why people who wield power and get huge sums of money through corruption should start fighting against corruption.” Manukian argues that the authorities have no incentives to improve the lot of ordinary Armenians because they do not intend to hold free and fair elections any time soon.
“Aravot” comments that Yerevan Mayor Robert Nazarian is emerging as the number one scapegoat for “the government’s sins.” Pro-government newspapers increasingly accuse him of mismanaging the capital and tolerating corruption in the mayor’s office. “But Nazarian’s sins are not that big by today’s standards,” the paper says. “He only duly served the authorities and carried out their wishes. Of course, [that was done] to the detriment to the city, its architecture…and all Yerevantsis. Unfortunately, the authorities’ and city’s interests do not coincide.”