“Zhamanak” attacks the local government system in Armenia that is marking the 15th anniversary of its formation during these days. The paper accuses local government bodies of being “part of a wider corruption chain formed through the kind of fraud that does not yield by its scope to that used in national elections.” “At the same time, they represent a major institution of falsifying national elections. Local leaders are elected by means of fraud and with the support of the central authorities as later these leaders rig the national votes in their corresponding areas, getting for that some quotas in local economic sectors,” the paper claims.
“Hraparak” sees a direct link between acting Yerevan mayor Taron Markarian’s increased chance of becoming new mayor and his surroundings becoming increasingly “subservient”. “On Thursday he [Markarian] got two medals at a time – one from Parliament Speaker Hovik Abrahamian and the other from the Union of Communities. They thus appreciated his so-called contribution to the formation of local government bodies and his 15-year activities in the field. But the goal is clear enough. Expectations from the mayor of Yerevan are great, there might be a thousand problems, and this is how we corrupt our officials.”
“Yerkir” wonders why a series of dismissals and resignations of senior government officials began soon after the main opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK) took a break from its street protests. “Perhaps by his new plan of giving up the idea of achieving snap elections [HAK leader Levon] Ter-Petrosian gave a sort of indication to [President] Serzh Sarkisian and his Republican Party surroundings that the “struggling opposition” is dead and instead the era of a “struggling president” is ushered in?”
“Hayots Ashkhar” comments on President Sarkisian’s speech at the November 9 convention of the Union of Manufacturers and Businessmen of Armenia in which the head of state made a case for separating government and business. The paper describes it as a clear warning that “if things are done otherwise, it will be evaluated as unacceptable and, therefore, punishable”. “The frequent joint holding of positions in business and power simply hampers the country’s economic and not only economic progress. In other words, we have to do with such a negative factor that unless we deal with it, eventually it will deal with us,” the daily writes.
In the context of discussions of Armenia’s state budget for 2012 Ara Nranian, a lawmaker with the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun), tells “Irates de facto” that the government does possess resources to raise salaries and state pensions but “believes that Armenia’s competitiveness is based on the low incomes of the population.” “This is also stipulated in the strategy for sustainable development that says that the government sets the task of ensuring a growth of productivity in conditions of stable low remuneration. In other words, the government expects citizens with incomes that are lower than even the subsistence level to work more and give a higher-quality and more competitive product.”