“Zhamanak” says that due to the absence of some deputies from the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) the Armenian parliament is struggling to make a quorum during an extraordinary session that began early this week. The government initiated the session to push through a number of its major bills, including on pension reforms. The paper claims that the government is now “failing” in the National Assembly due to the kind of foul play which Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamian orchestrated against his predecessor Tigran Sarkisian on a number of occasions when he was parliament speaker.
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” alleges that the government is resorting to blackmail to neutralize continuing protests against the pension reform and other controversial initiatives launched by it. The paper says this includes threats to arrest protesters and warnings that public transport and electricity supplies will be disrupted unless bus fares and electricity prices are raised soon. It says that the government is bluffing and could do nothing if many more people join those protests.
“Zhoghovurd” reports that Abrahamian held on Thursday an emergency meeting of government officials to discuss an outcry sparked by a corporate party that was held on June 14 by a Russian company belonging to Armenian-born financier Ruben Vardanian at the ruins of a medieval Armenian temple. Abrahamian issued a “strict reprimand” to Vladimir Poghosian, the head of a Culture Ministry agency tasked with protecting historical monuments of Armenia. The government also fired Vartan Grigorian, the director of a state museum encompassing the Zvartnots temple complex. Grigorian has defended the agency’s decision to allow the holding of the event attended by scores of employees of a Russian investment bank owned by Vardanian. The paper denounces that decision as “blasphemy.”