(Saturday, January 30)
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” compares President Serzh Sarkisian’s current relationship with the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) to a marriage of convenience. “Dashnaktsutyun needs government posts, which would mean money, levers of influence, ability to rig elections and so on,” writes the paper. “Serzh Sarkisian, for his part, needs to dilute his political responsibility.”
Mikael Melkumian, a leader of the Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK), insists, in an interview with “Haykakan Zhamanak,” that unlike Dashnaktsutyun the BHK has received no power-sharing offers from President Serzh Sarkisian yet. But he makes clear that if Sarkisian does make such an offer the BHK will almost certainly accept it because the BHK would be in a position to “put its programs into practice.”
“168 Zham” expects the adoption of a new Electoral Code stemming the recently enacted constitutional changes to dominate the Armenian political agenda in the coming months. The paper says that the code will set “the rules of the game” in the redistribution of power planned by Sarkisian and his Republican Party of Armenia (HHK). It says that this does not bode well for the country’s democratization. “Armenia will not become a truly democratic state until its government is changed at least once as a result of elections,” adds the paper. “The current authorities are doing everything to prevent that, and the main aim of the new Electoral Code will be to maintain the HHK’s rule while creating a semblance of democracy.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that Armenia’s public debt has passed the $5 billion mark. “Armenia has never had so much debt before,” the paper notes with alarm. It says the figure is equivalent to around half of the country’s Gross Domestic Product.
“Zhamanak” recalls in this regard that the U.S. group Global Financial Integrity alleged a year ago that nearly $10 billion in cash was illegally taken out of Armenia in the past decade. “This is a staggering figure for a country whose foreign debt is equivalent to about half of its GDP,” writes the paper. “If that money had been invested in Armenia then hundreds of thousands of our countrymen would not have had to look for employment in Russia and other countries,” it says.