“Haykakan Zhamanak” notes that the price of public transportation in Armenia remains unchanged despite the 18 percent rise in the price of natural gas that took effect on Sunday. The paper believes that this is not necessarily good news because owners and drivers of public buses and minibuses are apparently forced by the government not to raise their fares.
“Chorrord Inknishkhanutyun” attacks the mostly government-linked bus owners, however, saying that they want the government to let them continue making huge profits either through subsidizing their businesses or allowing higher fares. “They are threatening to have the drivers go on strike despite the fact that the drivers are not at all interested in higher fares,” writes the paper. “The drivers are interested in lower daily taxes paid to the owners of bus routes. But nobody cares about their opinion.”
“Zhamanak” says “healthy economic logic” has never been a major factor behind price hikes in Armenia. “It is the logic of wild capitalism that has been at play, with importers, monopolies and oligopolies playing with prices in accordance with their appetites and calculations,” writes the paper.
Samvel Nikoyan, a senior pro-government parliamentarian, tells “Hayots Ashkhar” that the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) is right not to comment on the scandal over Prime Miister Tigran Sarkisian’s ownership of an offshore company that was allegedly used for defrauding an Armenian businessman. “It is obvious that this is an organized campaign against the prime minister,” he says. “Generally speaking, it seems to me that a fight for the post of prime minister will be the focal point of internal political processes for the next four years. Everybody has come to terms with the fact that the president has been elected for a second term and will serve until 2018. This means that the only influential post over which one can haggle and which can be used for influencing political developments is that of prime minister. I view the offshore affair in this context.”
“Zhamanak” likewise suggests that the post of prime minister has become “the only way of coming to power.” “[Parliament speaker] Hovik Abrahamian has for years aspired to that post,” writes the paper. “In recent years he has used his in-law and BHK leader Gagik Tsarukian for that aim. However, individuals more powerful than Hovik Abrahamian are now fighting for that post. Even [former President] Robert Kocharian. The shortest and most effective way of his return to power is to become prime minister.”