“Aravot” reports that veteran politicians Artashes Geghamian and Paruyr Hayrikian are poised to join the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) in hopes of winning seats in Armenia’s next parliament. “Mr. Geghamian’s explanations to that effect are more pragmatic,” writes the paper. “He likes Serzh Sarkisian’s foreign policy. As for the internal policy, notably the economic one, he [claims that he] will try to fix it from within [the ruling establishment.] Paruyr Hayrikian is explaining his motives in a more fuzzy manner.”
“Hraparak” quotes Gurgen Arsenian, another pro-establishment politician, as promising a “very good and nice” participation in the 2012 parliamentary elections of his United Labor Party (MAK). “You will also like it,” says Arsenian. The flamboyant MAK leader also does not rule out the possibility of cooperation with other political forces, including the HHK.
“One must never justify the existing vicious phenomena in the army with the society’s vices,” Andranik Kocharian, a senior opposition figure and a former deputy defense minister, tells “Zhamanak.” He says that continuing non-combat deaths of Armenian soldiers are “unacceptable.” “Those directly responsible for this problem, starting from the presidential administration, must realize one thing: the army becomes weaker with the death of a soldier,” says Kocharian.
“Chorrord Inknishkhanutyun” claims that small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) risk bearing the brunt of the government’s intention to raise tax revenues by 13 percent in 2012. “In case of an increased tax burden, many of them will simply shut down and the government will get the opposite effect,” warns the pro-opposition daily. It says the authorities can meet the higher revenue target only if they devaluate the Armenian dram or crack down on tax evasion among wealthy businesspeople. Their course of actions depends on the outcome of the parliamentary elections, concludes the paper.
“Yerkir” dismisses assurances by Armenian government officials and pro-government politicians that Azerbaijan’s election to the UN Security Council will have no dangerous consequences for Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh. The paper complains that instead of analyzing the government’s mistakes in the international arena, they are calming themselves and the domestic public with hopes that the United States, Russia and France will not allow Azerbaijan to move the Karabakh negotiating process to the UN.