“Azg” writes that the Miasnutyun majority in the parliament killed a Dashnaktsutyun bill on raising pensions not because the government lacks funds to underwrite the increase. The Republicans and their allies from the HZhK just couldn’t let the Dashnaks take credit for what would have undoubtedly been a highly popular measure. The 500,000 or so pensioners would not fail to notice who has raised their benefits.
The Dashnak daily “Yerkir” slams the pro-government parliament majority for its rejection of the bill. Miasnutyun lawmakers boycotted the vote “at the cost of their self-humiliation,” it says.
“This was the kind of vote that unmasks people,” Dashnaktsutyun leader Vahan Hovannisian tells “Hayots Ashkhar.” “The Republican party apparently thought that it would be better if the government or they themselves come up with such an initiative later on.” The government and its allies, including the HZhK, have demonstrated that they have no programs of addressing socioeconomic issues, Hovannisian concludes.
“Aravot” puts the issue in perspective, saying: “Populism is the main weapon of politicians in underdeveloped countries.” The fact that the Dashnak initiative was “advertised” by the pro-Kocharian media suggests far-reaching implications. By effectively telling voters that the government does not care about their welfare, the presidential administration prepares ground for pre-term parliamentary elections, the paper speculates.
“Haykakan Zhamanak,” meanwhile, says talk is spreading in the government corridors in Yerevan about an imminent fresh presidential election in Nagorno-Karabakh. Artur Aghabekian, the Karabakh-born deputy defense minister of Armenia, is quietly mentioned as someone who could replace Arkady Ghukasian.
“Zhamanak” touches on the problem of direct foreign investments the level of which it says remains low despite government efforts to improve the business climate in Armenia. Those efforts will yield few results as long as they are not backed up by other government structures. There have been many cases of middle-ranking bureaucrats scuttling deals with foreign investors.
Papers are dissatisfied with the course of the parliament shootings trial, expressing surprise at the questions put by state prosecutors to Nairi Hunanian. “Haykakan Zhamanak” says this is another proof of their incompetence, while “Azg” notes sarcastically that “the court seems to be hearing a divorce case involving Hunanian’s parents.”