(Saturday, August 3)
In an interview with “Hraparak,” Vazgen Manukian, a veteran politician heading the presidential Public Council, disagrees with suggestions that recent successes of non-partisan civic groups in Armenia are turning political parties into meaningless structures. But he does think that Armenian parties need a radical overhaul if they are to keep up with non-traditional civic activism driven by online social networks. “What is clear is that the forms of old parties have exhausted themselves not only in Armenia but also all over the world, says Manukian.
Political analyst Gagik Hambarian tells “Aravot” that Yerevan Mayor Taron Markarian is not the one who decides the cost of public transport in the Armenian capital. He claims that the recent increase in bus fares, which was subsequently repealed, was ordered by President Serzh Sarkisian. Hambarian says the price hike was “absurd” because the rise in the price of natural gas imported from Russia was less drastic. He says the “terrible” state of public transport in Yerevan also did not warrant higher fares.
“Hayots Ashkhar” says economic growth in Armenia appears to have slowed down in the second quarter of this year and the government is worried about that. The paper points out that Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian told ministers on Thursday to “analyze” obstacles to growth in their respective areas of responsibility. “The government plans to discuss the results of the ministers’ analyses already at its next meeting [next week,]” it says. “The government is clearly in a hurry. And that is understandable because there is not much time left for improving economic growth indicators. Especially given that they are often connected with serious structural changes, financial resources, external markets and issues dictated by the overall economic environment. Solving them sometimes requires a lot of time and effort.”