(Saturday, May 6)
“Hraparak” says that 41 of the 105 members of Armenia’s new parliament did not serve in the previous National Assembly. “That should supposedly make one hope that the authorities are refreshing and rejuvenating themselves,” writes the paper. “But we cannot say that [the new parliament] will be better than the previous one. The number of unsavory, uneducated and thuggish people there ready to rubber stamp [government bills] is so large that one should not have great expectations. It is true, though, that things will be clear … only when the parliament starts working.”
“Hayots Ashkhar” reports that the nine deputies elected to the parliament on the opposition Yelk bloc’s ticket boycotted Friday’s ceremony at the Central Election Commission during which most lawmakers received their mandates. Most deputies representing Gagik Tsarukian’s bloc were also did not attend the ceremony, says the paper. The new parliament will hold its inaugural sitting on May 18.
Interviewed by “Zhamanak,” Vartevan Grigorian, one of the newly elected deputies from the Tsarukian Bloc, criticizes fellow members of the bloc for defying Tsarukian’s decision to give their parliament seats to other election candidates. Grigorian insists that contrary to their denials all of them signed letters of resignation on the eve of the April 2 elections. “It’s just that someone probably told them that they can withdraw their resignations,” he says. “Time will tell who told them and why.”
“168 Zham” says that Azerbaijan set a “dangerous” precedent for Armenia when it succeeded in forcing the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe to shut down its office in Yerevan. The paper claims that the Armenian government did little to prevent this development. It speculates that Russia may also have had a hand in the impending closure of the OSCE office.