“Iravunk” says that deputies from the Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) and the three opposition forces represented in the National Assembly could have thwarted the lifting of Vartan Oskanian’s immunity from prosecution had they stayed in the chamber and voted against the measure, instead of boycotting the vote. The paper says that all they had to do would have been to simply win over several pro-government colleagues who might have well backed Oskanian.
Speaking to “Hayots Ashkhar,” Hovannes Sahakian, a senior deputy from the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK), says that he disapproves of his BHK colleagues’ decision to boycott parliament sessions held this week. “If there are some problems or disagreements they can be overcome through discussions, rather than escalating the situation,” he says.
“Although several mid-ranking officials have been arrested and several others sacked over the past month, most people are sure that this fight [against corruption] is just an imitation,” “Aravot” writes in an editorial. “Before arresting corrupt officials, the authorities should create mechanisms that would seriously restrict and, ideally, exclude contact between a state official and a citizen.”
“Zhamanak” quotes Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian as telling the parliament this week that his government continues to object to the implementation in Armenia of a Russian government scheme that encourages residents of former Soviet republics to emigrate to Russia. Sarkisian said Yerevan has conveyed these objections to Moscow “at the highest government level.” The paper wonders why the program is still being implemented in Armenia. “This is further proof that Armenia is unable to fully assert its interests because the state has effectively ceded its sovereignty to Russia,” it claims.
“Chorrord Inknishkhanutyun” reports that the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly has passed a resolution that sets a clear definition of the term “political prisoner.” “This is a very important event,” says the paper. “It can be said that European officials will find themselves in a difficult situation now.” It says that until now Council of Europe officials have avoided describing Armenian opposition members arrested in February-March 2008 as political prisoners on the grounds that the term is not clearly defined by international structures.