(Saturday, November 16)
“Chorrord Inknishkhanutyun” says Armenians are protesting against the government’s pension reform because they do not believe that they will get decent pensions in the future in return for their significantly higher contributions to private pension funds. “People are fighting against it not because the new system is bad,” writes the paper. “People are fighting against it because they realize that the system will not work and that they will not get back the money forcibly taken away in 30-35 years from now.”
“Zhamanak” says the ruling Republican Party’s decision to boycott a parliament session on Friday that was due to discuss the controversial reform testifies to a “very serious crisis” in Armenia. “Boycott is a manifestation of desperation, and if there is desperation even in the pro-government majority [in the parliament] one can imagine what the situation is like in the country,” writes the paper. “And the situation is really serious. This reality shows that there is no government in the country.”
“Hraparak” says the HHK boycott should make Armenians take parliamentary elections more seriously. “The public must realize that what happens in the country depends not only on one person, the president, but also the legislative body, which has wide-ranging powers and huge levers,” says the paper. “When decent people, rather than those who obediently press buttons, a lot of things may change in our life.”
“Zhoghovurd” says the HHK’s decision to block the parliamentary debate on the issue shows that the authorities do not want to make any concessions. “This stance could probably have unpredictable consequences,” claims the paper. “The society is becoming increasingly convinced that regime change through elections is practically impossible in Armenia. By refusing any concessions right from the beginning, the authorities are driving people into an uprising and tough methods.”
Ishkhan Zakarian, the newly reelected chairman of the Armenian parliament’s Audit Chamber, assures “168 Zham” that the construction of his eye-catching luxury mansion was financed by Albert Boyajian, a U.S. businessman of Armenian descent whom he describes as a close friend of his. Zakarian publicizes documents purportedly proving his claim. He says Boyajian had formally authorized him to use his bank accounts in Armenia for building the villa.