(Saturday, April 20)
“Zhamanak” reports that opposition leader Raffi Hovannisian announced on Friday the launch of a new opposition movement for a “new Armenia.” “This is one of the few concrete episodes of Raffi Hovannisian’s activities after the presidential election,” comments the paper. “But it can be deemed quite overdue. That concreteness, especially with respect to the movement’s organizational aspect, should have come much earlier. That would have probably prevented the senseless fuss of April 9. On the other hand, as they say, better late than never.”
“Hraparak” says some Armenians are happy that Tigran Sarkisian is staying as prime minister while others are “mourning” this fact. The paper, for its part, believes that President Sarkisian’s decision not to replace the premier is “more than inexplicable” given the scale of the country’s socioeconomic woes. “If what we have is considered a successful economic policy, the achievement of objectives set by the government, then what is a failure?” it asks. “How can economic growth and development not have any impact on our life? And if that growth and development has not been visible in the last five years, then how long should we wait for the fruits of successes registered by Tigran Sarkisian’s government to become visible?”
“Chorrord Inknishkhanutyun” says Tigran Sarkisian’s reappointment means Serzh Sarkisian is either happy with the government’s record or thinks that the situation would get worse under any other prime minister. The pro-opposition paper thinks that the latter hypothesis is more likely to be the case. It says that the Armenian economy has not really grown, poverty has increased and the country’s external debt has tripled in the last five years. “These are the main results of Tigran Sarkisian’s five-year activities,” it says.
“Azg” believes, however, that Tigran Sarkisian’s reappointment was justified. “Measures taken by the government in the last five years are enough to understand why Tigran Sarkisian’s appointment as prime minister was anticipated,” writes the paper. “One should expect that new steps in this direction will be taken in the next five years. Besides agriculture and industry, the government should also stimulate the construction sector, which ensured double-digit economic growth and thousands of jobs in the 2000s, alleviate income polarization, reduce poverty, and continue improving the business environment.”
Hovannes Sahakian, a senior lawmaker from the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK), tells “Hayots Ashkhar” that the opposition should not “politicize” the forthcoming municipal elections in Yerevan. “We regard the Yerevan elections on a different plane,” he says. “We don’t consider those elections political.”