“Hraparak” says that Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamian’s angry outburst in the parliament exposed the Armenian authorities’ serious concerns over the political situation in the country. Abrahamian went so far as to complain to parliament speaker Galust Sahakian that opposition deputies did not speak out so “impudently” when he headed the National Assembly. The paper says that the opposition fury is the result of Abrahamian’s decision to reappoint the highly controversial governor of Armenia’s Syunik province, Suren Khachatrian.
“Zhamanak” dismisses Abrahamian’s claims that the recently introduced new tax rules, which have trigged angry protests by owners of small businesses, are necessary for combating tax evasion in Armenia. “In fact, this is a propaganda bluff because there is no real fight against the shadow economy,” writes the paper. “If somebody thinks that this is how fights against the shadow economy are conduct then they are at least incompetent, deliberately mislead the public or have other ulterior motives.”
“The main problem is that big business is in the [untaxed] shadow,” “Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” comments on the same issue. “If big business had not been in the shadow, small traders would have enthusiastically reacted to the [government] decision to lower the rate of turnover tax [levied from them] from 3.5 percent to 1 percent. And getting big business out of that shadow is undoubtedly a political issue. Just because it would take a political will to solve this issue.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” blames the Armenian government for that it sees a pro-Azerbaijani stance adopted by the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) with regard to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The pro-opposition paper dismisses government claims that this and other developments unfavorable to Armenia are the result of bribes paid by the Azerbaijani authorities to European lawmakers and other officials.” It says that Azerbaijani “caviar diplomacy” is not a decisive factor. “Mistakes committed by the Armenian diplomacy have been more decisive,” it claims.
“Hayots Ashkhar” notes in this regard that the PACE’s new rapporteur on Karabakh, Robert Walter, is a British parliamentarian known for his pro-Azerbaijani views. The pro-government paper says that his appointment is a “setback for our parliamentary diplomacy.” But it is confident that Walter’s statements and reports will have no serious impact on the resolution of the Karabakh conflict “because the PACE has no mediating role in the negotiation process.”