“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” is not surprised with the three governing parties’ Monday pledge to continue to work together in President Robert Kocharian’s coalition cabinet. The paper say the coalition will not fall apart before next year’s election not because of national interests cited by its members but because “Kocharian holds a truncheon in his hand with which he can force the coalition to behave itself.” “Internal differences play no role here,” it writes. “Horses in the Russian troika too look in different directions while running, but they are headed to the same destination. The destination is decided by the one who holds the whip.”
“168 Zham” similarly dismisses the coalition statement as “pathetic.” “From now on they commit themselves to getting along with each other, loving and respecting each other and not causing each other trouble until 2007 election,” say the paper with irony.
“Iravunk” notes that the statement does not make it clear that the coalition will continue to operate in the same format. Nor does it contain any “guarantees” that the three parties will refrain from publicly attacking each other, says the paper. “The coalition will only artificially maintain its existence,” it concludes.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that Ruben Torosian, the opposition candidate for the vacant post of human rights ombudsperson, slammed Kocharian and key members of his cabinet as he addressed the National Assembly on Monday. “Torosian’s speech shocked the parliament’s pro-government section which did not expect such a development of events,” says the paper.
Meanwhile, the parliament’s deputy speaker, Tigran Torosian, tells “Iravunk” that he hopes the new ombudsperson will ensure “continuity” in the human rights agency’s work. But he is vague about who should draw up and publish the ombudsperson’s 2005 report: Larisa Alaverdian or her successor.
“Golos Armenii” recalls that only seven parliament deputies turned up to listen to Alaverdian’s first human rights report when it was released last April. “Things are more than obvious this year,” says the paper. “By transferring the right to present the annual report to the new [human rights] defender, the parliament’s leadership acknowledges report’s being a mere formality.”
“Aravot” compares the political situation in Armenia to the Brezhnev-era stagnation in the former Soviet Union. The paper editorializes that just like in Soviet times the authorities are using money and government posts to recruit young people that would stand by the regime during elections and other “important moments.”
“Azg” has lost count of how many ministers of culture Armenia has had since independence and expresses hope that the newly appointed minister, Gevorg Gevorgian, will be a “real minister” who will strive to present Armenian culture to the outside world.