(Saturday, July 30)
“The [former ruling] HHSh gobbled what had been created in the past, while the current authorities are eating Armenia’s future,” snaps “Azg.” The paper says Robert Kocharian has only partly lived up to popular expectations of positive change which were aroused by his 1998 rise to power. “Before the  regime change everyone was pointing to [former Interior Minister] Vano Siradeghian’s one-story villa. It still exists. But it now looks shabby against the backdrop of the villas belonging to [Kocharian’s chief of staff] Artashes Tumanian, [Minister for Local Government] Hovik Abrahamian and our officials with nicknames who live off their salaries.”
Opposition leader Vazgen Manukian continues to voice skepticism about the Hanrapetutyun party’s pledge to effect regime change on its own. “You can’t solve issues with a small group,” he tells “Aravot.” Manukian believes that only a broad-based opposition coalition can count on success: “I think that only the existence of a big force can solve the issue of returning power to the people.”
Hrair Karapetian, a parliament deputy from the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun), tells “Hayots Ashkhar” that the Armenian authorities’ failure to push their draft constitutional amendments through the referendum would not mean an opposition victory. Nor would it weaken the ruling regime, he says. “At stake is the authority of the state. If our society rejects the idea of having a constitution approved by European structures and meeting European standards, that will mean only one thing to the European community: Armenia along with its electorate is not prepared for European integration,” claims Karapetian.
In an interview with “Golos Armenii,” parliament speaker Artur Baghdasarian admits that the Armenian authorities have “many shortcomings.” “If we don’t talk about them, it doesn’t mean they don’t exist,” he says. Asked whether he plans to run for president in 2008, Baghdasarian says, “I still have one answer to that question: there is quite a lot of time remaining before the next presidential elections.”
“To be honest, I don’t think that the Nagorno-Karabakh problem will be resolved before January 2007,” deputy parliament speaker Tigran Torosian tells “Hayots Ashkhar.” “Especially considering the further intensification of anti-Armenian propaganda in Azerbaijan.”
“Golos Armenii” quotes Human Rights Defender Larisa Alaverdian as accusing the government of breaking the law in the dislocation of residents of old Yerevan houses that are being torn down as part of a massive redevelopment program. “The government has overstepped its powers by setting rules for the alienation of property,” she says. “The parliament is turning a blind eye to that, while the president, judging from his administration’s responses, believes that the constitution is not breached.”