(Saturday, July 25)
Commenting on the proposed constitutional amendments, former presidential candidate Arman Melikian tells “Aravot” that a transition to the parliamentary form of government in which the legislative body is elected by party lists only pushes an individual out of active political life. “I remember that not so long ago [President] Serzh Sarkisian spoke about the need to prevent the possibility of a random person appearing at the post of head of state. In fact, an attempt is being made to solve this issue through a system in which an individual is deprived of the opportunity to participate fully in political life without having to go through a party sieve first. In today’s Armenia this reform essentially gives the party bosses the exclusive right to decide who is random in politics and who is not,” he says.
In an interview with “Hayots Ashkhar” member of the parliamentary faction of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia Arpine Hovannisian argues that the notions of “stable majority” and “runoff” in parliamentary elections that are stipulated by the proposed constitutional amendments do not at all prevent the formation of coalitions based on the outcome of the popular vote: “Constitutional theory and practice suggest that after the first round of elections the two parties that have the highest number of votes as well as those that clear the five-percent hurdle can form blocs and participate in the second round. This allows parliamentary forces to unite, to combine their efforts, to fully concentrate their human and political potential in order to participate in the second round and get the people’s vote to form a government.”
Lragir.am poignantly construes the statement by President Sarkisian who at a recent meeting with Armenian students studying abroad said that “Armenia needs educated, professional specialists who in 10-15 years will lead the country” as his admission that no change of power will take place in the country in the next decade and a half. “Because in order for Armenia to be ruled by educated and highly qualified specialists a change of government needs to take place. If the current government does not change, the young educated people will have nothing to do in public administration,” the online paper comments.
“Iravunk” observes that never before has Armenia had such a wide range of forecasts regarding its annual economic growth – from 1 to 4.1 percent. “International financial institutions have a more pessimistic outlook, explaining it by regional factors and the economic situation in Russia. Based on this, the World Bank forecasts an economic growth of 0.8 percent for Armenia in 2015, while the International Monetary Fund even predicts a one-percent economic decline. There is no unified forecast by Armenian government bodies either. Anyway, based on the results of the first six months of the year, Armenia has a 3.8-percent growth in economic activity, which gives hope that economic growth at the end of the year will be at around 3 percent. This can be regarded as a satisfactory result given the geopolitical and economic challenges emanating from abroad,” the paper writes.