“Yerkir” predicts that Yerevan’s new Mayor Taron Markarian will also manage the election campaign of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) in the capital. “With the municipal administration effectively turned into the ruling party’s election campaign headquarters, he will be left with a dilemma: how to become a real mayor of Yerevan and its residents?” writes the paper. “It is impossible to solve this puzzle because it is impossible to reconcile the two things.”
“Zhamanak” casts doubt on Markarian’s ability to govern the city well. “The thing is that the problems fundamental for Yerevan -- public transport, urban development -- are within the bounds of the interests of Armenia’s big business, oligarchy,” explains the pro-opposition daily. “There is no doubt that Taron Markairan cannot turn on that oligarchy or at least cannot do that before Serzh Sarkisian does … Such a thing will definitely not occur before the parliamentary elections because it would be risky to provoke a sabotage by the oligarchs.”
“Chorrord Inknishkhanutyun” dismisses as “pathetic” a statement by Syunik’s regional administration denying that Governor Surik Khachatrian assaulted a businesswoman in Yerevan on Monday. The opposition says the fact that the statement was issued by the local government “creates the impression that Surik Khachatrian beat up that woman in his capacity as Syunik governor or on behalf of Syunik province.” “One wonders why Surik Khachatrian did not personally refute that information and forced a state body to do that instead … This is called abuse of power,” it says.
Gagik Melikian, an HHK deputy, tells “Hayots Ashkhar” that Armenia has already managed to regain the pre-crisis level of its Gross Domestic Product and will actually surpass the 2008 figure by 5.5 percent this year. Melikian also claims that the state budget for 2012 will have a “clear social orientation.” He argues that social spending will account for almost half of the overall budgetary expenditures. “Special programs will be implemented to improve the plight of the most vulnerable strata [of the population] and minimize poverty,” he says. “Pensions and social benefits will rise by around 10 percent.”