(Saturday, August 1)
“Aravot” talks to lawyer Tigran Atanesian on the subject of the preliminary opinion of the Venice Commission regarding Armenia’s draft constitutional amendments. The Council of Europe’s body, in particular, criticized the proposed “second round” in parliamentary elections. He says there is no such practice anywhere in the world except in Italy where it has still not been fully adopted as a law. So, he says, it is not even clear how successful it will prove. “As for the prohibition for lawmakers to change factions, apparently it was prompted by the 1998 experience, as the authorities are afraid there will be a sudden ‘change of allegiances’ and, as a result, a change of power one day,” the expert adds.
In an interview with “Hayots Ashkhar” political analyst Garik Kerian suggests that most civil initiatives in Armenia fail to achieve their goals because they have no clear plans and roadmaps of steps. “Civil initiatives in Armenia, as a rule, start and end in the center of Yerevan, they take place in conditions of low attendance and register no tangible results. From among the civil movements of recent times perhaps the movement against electricity price hikes can be singled out in this sense because as a result of this movement the electricity tariff went up by only 7 drams (about 1.5 cents) instead of originally expected 17 drams. A civil initiative should have its clear program, a roadmap of steps, it should calculate the efficiency of these steps, the real chances and instruments of achieving a success. In Armenia such calculations are hardly ever made,” he says.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” draws its readers’ attention to the part of the official press release of the presidential administration on President Serzh Sarkisian’s “short” vacation that says that he will spend part of it abroad. The opposition daily comments: “In the past seven years such press releases have become so habitual that we do not even notice the numerous questions that arise as a result of reading this one-line report. No one even asks why the top official of the country should spend his vacation abroad. Millions of drams are spent from Armenia’s state budget for keeping dachas for state officials – at Lake Sevan, in Jermuk, Dilijan, Tsaghkadzor, Arzni and many other places. Why are these places no good for Sarkisian?”
Lragir.am writes: “First Deputy Minister of Defense David Tonoyan made a statement in the United States which, if not sensational by itself, then at least contains some elements of sensation. During a meeting with representatives of Armenian organizations at the Embassy of Armenia in Washington Tonoyan stated that the U.S. will help step up control for maintaining the ceasefire regime in the Karabakh conflict zone. That the roles of Russia and the United States – two of the three co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group – in Karabakh truce is essential is no news, but unprecedented is perhaps the statement that the U.S. will help to maintain the ceasefire. The thing is that maintaining the ceasefire means maintaining the status quo. In any case, the U.S. does not appear to have demanded a change in the status quo in exchange for its assistance in the issue of maintaining the ceasefire.”