“Aravot” reports on the resignation of Armenia’s human rights ombudsman, Karen Andreasian, saying that it is widely linked with his recent public spat with several parliament deputies representing the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK). The paper notes that Andreasian was also criticized by some opposition parliamentarians in October. One of them, Gagik Jahangirian, even demanded his resignation. Andreasian rejected the demand at the time.
For “Hayots Ashkhar,” Andreasian’s resignation was “somewhat expected.” The paper says that Andreasian clashed with not only HHK lawmakers but also Education Minister Armen Ashotian.
“Zhamanak” expects the HHK, the Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) to discuss a “redistribution of power” following the controversial constitutional reform implemented by President Serzh Sarkisian. The paper speculates at the same time that political processes in the country will be shaped by what it calls rivalry between Sarkisian and Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamian. It claims that the two men are vying for a dominant role in the ruling ahead of the 2017 parliamentary elections. “This in turn means that division lines within the government will become more vivid soon and that small and big government factions located in between Sarkisian and Abrahamian will have to make a final choice as to with whom they stand,” it says.
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” offers a very uncertain economic outlook for Armenia in 2016. The only certain thing, it says, is that the economic situation in the country will not improve this year. “Global [macroeconomic] forecasts are gloomy and that is primarily to do with the oil price,” writes the paper. “There are already suggestions that the oil price could fall to $20 [per barrel,] meaning that the situation in Russia will worsen further. That will in turn affect remittances coming to Armenia.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that the Armenian government’s tax revenues in 2015 fell short of its target by 75 billion drams ($156 million). The shortfall is equivalent to 7 percent of the budgetary revenue target.