“Hraparak” reports on rumors that Karen Karapetian, the former Yerevan mayor who is now a top executive at a Russian commercial bank, is a potential candidate in Armenia’s 2013 presidential election. The paper speculates that Karapetian might be prodded to run for president by the Russian government, which it says has a “huge influence” on him. It also claims that his candidacy might be backed by several major political forces, including Gagik Tsarukian’s Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) and Levon Ter-Petrosian’s Armenian National Congress (HAK).
“Aravot” comments on a lack of interest shown by many Armenian parties in the upcoming local elections. “In our country, such elections are usually of secondary importance,” writes the paper. “The main reason is that in countries like ours everything is decided by the number one figure.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that the Armenian government has officially acknowledged that its budgetary targets were not met in full last year. “At first glance, the underperformance is not big: only 0.1 percent [of projected budgetary expenditures,]” says the paper. “But if one turns that percentage into [an amount of] money, it will be worth 2.3 billion drams or $6 million. By comparison, the more than 100,000 families eligible for poverty benefits in our country get a total of 3 billion drams each month.” The opposition paper says this figure also means that the informal sector of the Armenian economy expanded in 2011.
“Hayots Ashkhar” criticizes the Ministry of Environment Protection for not reacting to this week’s leakage of toxic waste from Armenia’s largest mining enterprise into a river flowing through the southeastern town of Kapan. “The silence of law-enforcement bodies is also not understandable,” says the paper. It believes that the authorities should have commented on the emergency immediately.
“There is a lot to be worried about,” adds “Hayots Ashkhar.” “For instance, non-governmental organizations and some individuals in Kapan say that because of the toxic waste leaked into the river people are feeling sick and having headaches. They demand that the river be completely cleaned up after the accident.”