“Aravot” says that the Armenian authorities have a “wonderful excuse” to walk away from a compromise agreement on the Electoral Code reached with the opposition. The paper refers to the government’s warning that the deal will become null and void if international donors fail to finance the purchase of new equipment to be used during next year’s parliamentary elections. “They can also present it as a great justification to the Europeans,” it says. The paper claims at the same time that “this petty trick will hardly work” because it is the authorities that would bear responsibility for serious electoral fraud in any case.
Hovannes Sahakian, a senior lawmaker from the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK), assures “Zhoghovurd” that the authorities are committed to implementing the deal with the opposition. Sahakian says that right from the beginning the government and the HHK made clear that donor funding will be indispensable for the enforcement of anti-fraud clauses added to Armenia’s Electoral Code. He also says that the donor community, for its part, expressed readiness to provide the funding in case of an agreement between the government and the opposition. “We are doing everything to have such a possibility,” adds the chairman of the Armenian parliament committee on legal affairs.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” again condemns the Central Bank of Armenia (CBA) for not drastically cutting its benchmark refinancing rate despite very low inflation observed in the country in recent months. The paper says that the CBA on Tuesday reduced the rate by only 0.25 percentage points, to 7.5 percent. “And this means that interest rates in Armenia will practically not decrease and commercial banks will continue to offer their corporate clients loans carrying an interest rate of 16, 20 or even 24 percent,” it says. “Such astronomically high rates cannot stimulate economic activity in any way.” The paper goes on to accuse the CBA of seeking to “kill” the domestic economy.
“Hraparak” reports that a massive landslide has blocked a road that runs through the sole Russian-Georgian border crossing and is heavily used for import and export operations between Russia and Armenia. The calamity left many Armenian trucks stranded on the Russian side of the Upper Lars crossing. Relevant authorities in Georgia and Armenia say that they will need weeks to rebuild the damaged section of the road.