“Hraparak” reports that the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) has started drawing up its list of candidates for the May 2012 parliamentary elections. The paper says there are growing rumors that members of Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian’s “team” will occupy high places in the list at the expense of veteran HHK figures currently holding parliament seats. One of those deputies, Mkrtich Minasian, says in this regard that government ministers affiliated with the HHK will have their names put on the list in the alphabetical order. “Including those who joined the government with Tigran Sarkisian,” he adds. Minasian also dismisses the paper’s suggestion that the HHK has lost its political capital and popularity since the March 2008 events in Yerevan.
“Hayots Ashkhar” says Armenia has achieved “great success” in developing a civil society. “In our country, civil society is a fait accompli, and we think that it is time to think whether we should keep passing exams for international structures,” writes the pro-establishment daily. It argues with sarcasm that at least half of some 3,000 non-governmental organizations registered in Armenia claim to be promoting democratic change.
Interviewed by “Aravot,” Garik Sarukhanian, a businessman running two major dairy firms, dismisses Agriculture Minister Gerasim Alaverdian’s explanation of recent months’ sharp rise in the price of cheese produced in Armenia. Sarukhanian blames the price hike on the increased cost of imported milk powder, which he says has also had a knock-on effect on prices set by Armenian dairy farmers. The resulting increase in demand for domestic milk is what pushed up the cheese prices, he says.
“Azg” comments on a controversial law that significantly limited the amount of state benefits paid to women on maternity leave. The law, which the paper condemns as “shameful,” will hit hard pregnant women earning more than 150,000 drams ($418) a month. “Russia has step up a maternity fund where the future of every newborn child is measured in millions of rubles, whereas our rulers have raised their hands against an untouchable capital: the motherhood and childhood,” writes the paper. “The authors of this law are definitely men devoid of knightly and gentlemanly virtues. Or perhaps, pretending to be pragmatic and taking emotion out of their brains and hearts, they simply to want to live off children’s milk.”