(Saturday, November 26)
“Hraparak” ridicules claims by the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) that as many as 7,000 people have decided to follow Prime Minister Karen Karapetian’s example and join the HHK. “Clearly, the purpose [of the claims] is to put psychological pressure on the public and voters and create a legend about the HHK’s power and army of followers which is very far from reality,” writes the paper. It says that the HHK is thus telling Armenians that it cannot be removed from power. “It’s a pity that opposition spin doctors are not just as strong and cannot counter this tactic and debunk the Republican myth.”
“Zhamanak” comments on utility regulators’ decision on Friday to cut the retail prices of natural gas in Armenia. The paper speculates that the move may be aimed at offsetting what it calls a negative public reaction to Karapetian’s decision to join the HHK. “The publicly undoubtedly had no great expectations from the work of the prime minister because it is well aware that he is not the main decision maker,” it says. “Therefore his membership in the HHK will not have an in-depth impact on the situation and will hardly affect public opinion in a way that could be fateful for Karen Karapetian.”
“Zhoghovurd” reports on Sarkisian’s recent interview with Russian state television in which he admitted that the Armenian side was ready, in principle, to withdraw from all seven districts around Nagorno-Karabakh full or partly controlled by it. The president said that Armenia and Azerbaijan were close to signing such a peace deal on a number of occasions. He also implied that Yerevan remains committed to resuming negotiations with Baku on this peace formula. “Thus Sarkisian once again made clear that the Armenian side is ready for a Karabakh settlement requiring the surrender of all seven districts,” concludes the paper.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” says that in its budget proposal submitted to parliament the Armenian government failed to clearly explain the sources of extra tax revenue which it expects to collect next year. The paper claims that the State Revenue Committee (SRC) will be forcing businesses to inflate wages paid by them and thereby pay more employee income taxes. “In theory, this could temporarily increase budgetary revenues,” it says. “But in the longer run, it will lead to higher unemployment and a reduction in the number of those who pay income tax.”