“168 Zham” says the Yerevan municipality would have stoked speculation about secret contacts between President Serzh Sarkisian and the Armenian National Congress (HAK) leader Levon Ter-Petrosian had it allowed the HAK to hold its rally in Yerevan’s Liberty Square on April 8. “In reality, had the authorities wanted to discredit the HAK, they would have sanctioned the April 8 rally without any deliberation,” comments the paper. It says the municipality’s decision could actually boost attendance at that rally.
“It appears that the authorities are trying to hold out as long as possible and clinch as many opposition concessions as possible in return for ceding Liberty Square to the people,” writes “Zhamanak.” The paper suggests that a formal lifting of the government ban on Liberty Square rallies could be seen by some government circles as a sign of Sarkisian’s weakness.
“Hayots Ashkhar” describes political processes unfolding in Armenia as “fairly serious and interesting.” The paper says the ongoing rise in political tension is natural given the absence of “long democratic traditions” in the country. “The start of the political spring shows that processes in Armenia are developing within civilized bounds for the time being,” it says.
“Hetq” reports that the Armenian ministries of economy and energy and natural resources claim to be unaware of details of a recent takeover by a Chinese company of three Armenian iron mines. “The deal is relevant to the duties of these two ministries and they were obliged to know all nuances of the deal in advance,” says the weekly. It says one of those mines, Svarants, is close to the medieval Tatev monastery in the southeastern Syunik province. Environmentalists and tourism experts are worried that open-pit mining operations there could damage the local ecosystem and scare tourists away from Tatev.
“Kapital” says that despite reforms trumpeted by the government the Armenian business community still does not see improvements in the country’s investment climate. “According to opinion polls conducted among entrepreneurs, the business environment has worsened in all sectors,” says the paper.