“Zhamanak” reports that the Armenian government has refused to accept any significant amendments to its controversial bill on financial compensations to the families of soldiers killed or maimed in action, which were promised by the parliamentary faction of the ruling Republican Party (HHK). The paper describes the bill’s almost certain passage in the second reading on Tuesday as Defense Minister Vigen Sargsian’s “first victory within the HHK” which was achieved with President Serzh Sarkisian’s help.
“It became clear during the parliament debate that public criticism has not led to major changes in the bill,” writes “Zhoghovurd.” The paper says Sargsian assured lawmakers last month that he is open to considering and accepting their proposals regarding the introduction of a new tax that will finance the compensation scheme. It notes that the HHK’s parliamentary leader, Vahram Baghdasarian, said recently that the planned tax could be made optional for citizens. “But Vigen Sargsian insisted on a mandatory tax during intra-government discussions, effectively embarrassing the leader and members of the parliament majority,” it says.
“Fortunately, Armenia is not, as former British Prime Minister David Cameron described some countries, a fantastically corrupt country, ” U.S. Assistant Secretary of State William Brownfield tells “Hraparak.” “But corruption is a major problem there. The country’s new government formed recently has vowed to fight against corruption.” Brownfield says that it in any country beset by corruption it is essential to both “dismantle the main mechanisms for corruption” and prosecute allegedly corrupt former senior officials.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that the hugely expensive construction of a railway connecting Armenia to Iran is among potential investment projects listed on the official website of the Armenian Ministry for Economic Development and Investments. “The idea of building the railway was first floated 12 years ago,” writes the paper. “And eight years ago Serzh Sarkisian declared that Armenia will start building it in the next few years. But no serious investor has shown an interest in it so far.”