“Zhamanak” says that Armenia’s government will benefit from the negotiations with the parliamentary opposition and civil society representatives because they will help it to legitimize the controversial Electoral Code drafted by it last month. The paper recalls in this regard a brief “dialogue” between the government and Levon Ter-Petrosian’s Armenian National Congress (HAK) which took place in 2011.
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” says that Serzh Sarkisian is keen to retain a loyal and very obedient majority in the National Assembly. But, the paper says, he is also interested in filling the parliament with not only “oligarchs and semi-criminal elements” but also other, more respectable loyalists.
“Zhoghovurd” reports that the parliament’s Ethics Commission began on Tuesday an inquiry into one such notorious lawmaker, Mher Sedrakian, who insulted yet another journalist in the parliament building recently. “There are certainly no big expectations from the commission, considering the zero impact of commission decisions regarding previous incidents of this kind that involved Sedrakian and another prominent Republican, Arakel Movsisian,” comments the paper. It also claims that some members of the parliamentary panel “behave in an even more ugly manner than Sedrakian or Movsisian.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” criticizes the Central Bank of Armenia (CBA) for again lowering its benchmark refinancing rate by 0.25 percentage points to 8.25 percent. “What does that decision by the CBA board mean?” writes the paper. “It means that the interest rates for loans extended to businesspeople and consumers will not go down considerably and will remain extremely high. And that in turn means that the economy’s blood circulation will remain low. The refinancing rate could have been lowered not by 0.25 but, say, 4-5 percentage points, and that would not have pushed up inflation above the [authorities’] target rate. Instead, interest rates would have fallen and the economy would have received more oxygen. By failing to do that, the Central Bank is effectively strangling small and medium-sized businesses and indirectly supporting oligarchs.”