“Aravot” reports that parliament speaker Artur Baghdasarian strongly disagrees with Prime Minister Andranik Markarian’s claims that advisory bodies created by him operate illegally. “First of all, it’s not good that the country’s prime minister communicates with the chairman of the country’s National Assembly through the media,” Baghdasarian says. “There are more acceptable ways of communication.” Baghdasarian argues that Markarian himself set up and chairs councils advising him on a range of issues. The speaker, who is currently in Austria on an official visit, adds that it is Markarian who broke the law by instructing government officials not to cooperate with the ad hoc parliamentary bodies.
“After all, numerous problems have accumulated in the country. Just because one hides them doesn’t mean that they don’t exist,” continues Baghdasarian. “The councils have proved that their existence is justified.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that the Armenian parliament is deserted these days because many of its members, including Baghdasarian, are out of country. The paper says bitingly that the only debate within the parliament majority revolves around participation in business trips abroad. It says Baghdasarian’s trips as well as the participation of his fellow deputies in “dubious” seminars in Europe are a waste of time and public resources. “Like government members, our deputies get business-class tickets when going abroad, which at least doubles their [travel] expenses,” the paper says, adding that the National Assembly may again fail to make a quorum next week. “But as one of the deputies noted, there is nothing wrong with that. The guys are already used to bumping into each other at supermarkets in various European countries.”
Interviewed by “168 Zham,” Minister for Local Government Hovik Abrahamian promises tough punishment for participants of this month’s massive gunfight in Yerevan. “We keep the situation under full control and are enforcing law and order,” he claims. Abrahamian also pledges to make every effort to ensure that the October local elections are “fair and transparent.” “We don’t care who will run local communities. What matters is that they be elected by the people and create few problems for us. You doubt it, many people doubt it. But I’m telling the truth. Why should I care who will be [a community prefect]. Can they defy my orders?”
According to “Haykakan Zhamanak,” Aram Karapetian, a maverick opposition politician, stands by his pledge to “start a revolution” in Armenia this April. Karapetian admits that conditions are not yet ripe for such a revolution, but finds it necessary to create a “critical mass and patiently wait for the [right] political moment.”
But another prominent oppositionist, Hrant Khachatrian of the Artarutyun alliance, is quoted by “Hayots Ashkhar” as advising opposition supporters to be careful about “those who unexpectedly descended on the [political] stage.”