(Saturday, May 30)
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” says that the price of electricity in Armenia, which is set to rise further in the coming weeks, is a “political issue.” The paper argues that the Electricity Networks of Armenia (ENA) utility requests tariff increases at will because it has a monopoly on energy supplies in the country. “The authorities obediently approve those applications,” it says. “Furthermore, the ENA has for years accumulated some incomprehensible debts and. indulged in extravagant expenses. The authorities turn a blind eye to that.”
“If Armenia had a normal government that brought the ENA to task, we would not have this situation,” “Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” goes on. “Changing the government is a purely political matter.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” says that even Armenia’s official unemployment rate, widely regarded as inaccurate, as gone up “sharply” of late. “In the first four months of this year, the number of unemployed people increased by 21 percent compared with the same period in 2014,” reports the paper. This figure contrasts with government claims that the Armenian economy grew by 2.2 percent in the first quarter of 2015. “This is nonsense,” the paper says. “An economy cannot grow by 2.2 percent amid a 21 percent increase in unemployment.”
“Zhoghovurd” claims that the Armenian authorities no longer object to holding the next parliamentary elections only on a party-list basis. The paper cites a “concept” for constitutional reform that has been put forward by an ad hoc commission set up by President Serzh Sarkisian. “But the fact is that one of the cornerstones of the existing government pyramid is elections held in single-seat constituencies,” it says. “Thanks to them regional feudal oligarchs solve both their own issues and those of the ruling Republican Party (HHK). If you remove the personal motivation of the feudal oligarchs then the situation could become dangerous for the authorities as the oligarchs could avoid working whole-heartedly [for the regime] and botch elections.”
Speaking to “Hraparak,” Gagik Harutiunian, the chairman of the Constitutional Court, dismisses as “fairy tales” speculation that he could become the next president of the republic if Armenia is transformed into a parliamentary republic. “I have no such childish dreams,” he says.