“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” regards the economic situation in Armenia as “disastrous.” The opposition paper claims that in the past few months the Armenian government has borrowed more from foreign sources in the previous 17 years taken together. “There is no guarantee that that will rescue the situation,” it says.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that the Central Bank of Armenia (CBA) sharply cut back on sales of U.S. dollars to commercial banks at the Yerevan stock exchange on Thursday in order to keep up the value of the national currency, the dram, without using up more of its hard currency reserves. “With blackmail and threats, the Central Bank banned the banks from trying to purchase foreign currency at the stock exchange,” says the paper.
“Zhamanak” editorializes that the idea of political dialogue in Armenia has been “devaluated” because each of the rival political factions is “pursuing maximalist goals.” The paper argues that the authorities say such a dialogue can start only after the opposition stops holding demonstrations, whereas the opposition says dialogue must definitely lead to fresh parliamentary and presidential elections. It says both approaches are wrong because “dialogue presupposes mutual concessions, agreement, respect for the opposite side’s view.” “In today’s Armenia the authorities are primarily unprepared for such tolerance,” it says, adding that the opposition can not accept the government conditions.
Samvel Nikoyan, head of the parliamentary commission investigating the March 1 clashes in Yerevan, notes in a “Hayots Ashkhar” interview that Armenia’s Criminal Code currently sets punishment only for completed “usurpation of state power,” rather than attempts to expedite it. “A question arises: if you have successfully seized power, who is going to prosecute you?” argues Nikoyan.
“Yerkir” criticizes the way in which the Central Election Commission (CEC) is preparing to hold the May 31 municipal elections in Yerevan. In particular, the paper is skeptical about the effectiveness of training courses for members of precinct election commissions which are planned by the CEC.