“Zhamanak” says Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian declared on Thursday that Armenian opposition groups are also responsible for the outflow of the population because people are “disappointed with a weak opposition.” “It would be wrong to say that the prime minister’s statement is devoid of logic,” comments the paper. “After all, the public pins hopes not only on the authorities but the opposition, expecting it to change the regime and govern the country better.” But it is also true, the paper says, that before blaming the opposition the authorities should allow it to “fight for people’s votes in a free environment” and to be able to come to power through elections.
Davit Shahnazarian, a prominent opposition politician, tells “168 Zham” that the corruption allegations facing Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian would “cause a deep political crisis in any more or less civilized country.” The paper says Sarkisian and his entire cabinet should have resigned and let law-enforcement bodies investigate the allegations. He notes that no criminal case has been opened yet in connection with a media report linking the prime minister to a dubious company registered in Cyprus.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” recalls in this regard that earlier this month the government spoke out against an opposition bill that would bar offshore firms from Armenia’s mining sector. “It is impossible to say that this was a coincidence,” claims the paper. “During the tenure of Serzh Sarkisian and Tigran Sarkisian foreign investments in Armenia, mainly in the mining sector, coming from offshore zones have drastically increased. So it does not matter anymore whether or not Tigran Sarkisian is connected with that particular company. He too has helped offshore companies dehydrate the Armenian economy.” The paper also denies Tigran Sarkisian’s claim that in any tax haven a company can be registered in any person’s name without their knowledge.
Ruben Hakobian, the deputy chairman of the opposition Zharangutyun (Heritage) party, assures “Zhoghovurd” that there is nothing wrong with the timing of Zharangutyun leader Raffi Hovannisian’s recent visit to the United States. “First of all, his parents live there,” says Hakobian. “One should always keep this in mind. Besides, he received invitations to give speeches and hold meetings [in the U.S.]”