Armenian newspapers report on National Security Service (NSS) chief Gorik Hakobian’s unexpected criticism of the government relating to its failure to pay back wages of Yerevan’s troubled Nairit chemical plant.
“Zhamanak” says that Hakobian spoke of a lack of popular trust in the government one day after the publication of constitutional amendments drafted by a presidential commission and three days after the surprise resignation of Justice Minister Hovannes Manukian. The paper speculates that Hakobian acted in accordance with a “new assignment” given to him from higher echelons of power.
Citing government sources, “Haykakan Zhamanak” says Hakobian’s remarks resulted from a confidential survey of the public mood in Armenia that was conducted by the NSS in recent months. The paper claims that the NSS has presented the government with a number of reports revealing “dangerous” results of that survey but received no response so far. It links Hakobian’s outburst with the government’s “indifference.”
“Of course, it would be good if the government and Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamian in particular heeded Gorik Hakobian’s warnings,” writes “Zhoghovurd.” “But such a prospect is not realistic given the government indifference to the problems of the Armenian society. The National Security Service is also part of the government and deserves a lion’s share of the blame for the existing atmosphere of distrust in Armenia.” It says Hakobian simply decried the state of affairs in a government policy area for which his agency is not responsible.
“Hayots Ashkhar” complains that opposition critics of the newly publicized constitutional amendments drafted by a presidential commission do not comment on their substance, preferring instead to repeat their claims that the planned reform is aimed at extending President Serzh Sarkisian’s rule beyond 2018. “And yet it is their substance that matters the most,” says the pro-government paper. It says the amendments must be discussed and analyzed in detail because, if adopted, they would have a profound impact on future political processes in Armenia.
Khachatur Kokobelian, the leader of the opposition Free Democrats party, tells “Aravot” that the proposed amendments preclude the formation of genuine coalition governments in Armenia by envisaging two-round parliamentary elections that must produce a single clear winner. Kokobelian argues that the formation of coalition governments is “one of the main components of democracy.”