“The society lives in an atmosphere of double standards,” laments “Golos Armenii.” “Punishment is enforced only against the poor, while for individuals close to government the basic law is illegality and impunity.” The paper compares the draconian imprisonment of a man who hit a police officer with a plastic bottle on April 13 with minor fines imposed on some of the pro-government individuals who attacked journalists on April 5. It says this is “the most convincing proof that Armenian justice is carrying out political orders.” “The belief that justice is a toy in the hands of the government is increasingly taking hold in the society.”
Reacting to Prosecutor-General Aghvan Hovsepian’s remark that it is now very difficult for law-enforcement authorities to prosecute perpetrators of last year’s electoral fraud, “Golos Armenii” notes, “It is obvious that there will be no lack of vote falsifications during the next elections.”
Dashnaktsutyun leader Armen Rustamian reveals to “Hayastani Hanrapetutyun” that the Armenian parliament’s term in office would be raised from four to five years under the revised constitutional amendments agreed by President Robert Kocharian and the ruling coalition. He says it would also be possible for lawmakers to recall their speaker and his two deputies. This proposed change was initially opposed by the Orinats Yerkir Party led by the current parliament speaker, Artur Baghdasarian, according to Rustamian. The latter further reveals that the next constitutional referendum will likely take place on July 5 next year. That day will mark the tenth anniversary of the enactment of Armenia’s existing post-Soviet constitution.
“Azg” carries the results of a joint Armenian-Azerbaijani opinion poll according to which 74 percent of Armenians and 46 percent of Azerbaijanis would like to restore bilateral ties that existed before the outbreak of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The vast majority of respondents stand for the peaceful coexistence of the two neighboring peoples.
“The Armenian mentality does not consider bribery to be an extremely negative phenomenon,” “Azg” says in a separate comment which voices skepticism about the Armenian government’s declared anti-corruption initiatives. “And it will not make sense for foreigners to try to convince us of its adverse effects until we ourselves come to that conclusion.”
“Golos Armenii” reports that the Justice Ministry will ask courts next week to formally disband the 51 parties that have failed to re-register with the authorities in accordance with Armenia’s new law on political organizations. Citing Deputy Justice Minister Tigran Mukuchian, the paper says there are now 64 parties registered with the ministry under the new law. Ten of them have been set up since the passage of the legislation two years ago.