By Karine Kalantarian

Radio Liberty, Czech Rep
June 1 2006

Prosecutor-General Aghvan Hovsepian insisted on Thursday that he
was not behind the recent creation of a new political party that has
staked a claim to a role in Armenia's next government to be formed
after next year's parliamentary election.

"I have said repeatedly that I am not engaged in party building," he
said. "You may say something once and everyone will understand. But
you may say something for ten times and not everyone will understand."

Hovsepian was commenting on allegations by a top leader of the
governing Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun),
Hrant Markarian, that he is illegally sponsoring the Association for
Armenia party. Some of the party's leaders have close ties with the
influential prosecutor.

"The current prosecutor of the Republic of Armenia has no right to
create a party. Neither directly, nor indirectly," Markarian told the
newspaper "Iravunk" last week. He repeated his view in an interview
with RFE/RL on Tuesday.

Markarian also accused Hovsepian of behaving like a "feudal ruler"
of the central Aragatsotn province which is governed by a member
of Dashnaktsutyun. Reports in the Dashnaktsutyun-controlled media
have said the Prosecutor-General's Office has conducted politically
motivated inspections of local government agencies and schools in
recent weeks.

One of the Aragatsotn districts, Aparan, is known as the stronghold of
Hovsepian's Nig-Aparan organization uniting prominent natives of the
area. The Association for Armenia plans to make a strong showing there.

"The people know well who is who," Hovsepian told RFE/RL after
inaugurating a new U.S.-funded forensic laboratory of Armenia's
law-enforcement bodies. He refused to answer more questions.