(Saturday, December 24)
“Zhamanak” says that so far the Armenian authorities have been the main source of important and interesting developments related to the April 2017 parliamentary elections. “On the opposition side there has been only one noteworthy development so far: the unification of the Bright Armenia, Hanrapetutyun and Civil Contract parties,” writes the paper. Levon Ter-Petrosian’s latest speech was an interesting but less significant event, it says, arguing that the leader of the opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK) simply sent a message to President Serzh Sarkisian.
“Hayots Ashkhar” hits out at Victor Dallakian, a veteran politician who recently resigned as a deputy chief of Sarkisian’s staff to return to the opposition and lead his own party called Third Republic. The pro-presidential paper says that Dallakian stands no chance of attracting a large following with his “extreme statements” because Armenians no longer trust politicians acting like “saviors.”
“Aravot” criticizes Yerevan’s municipal administration for failing to clean all streets and sidewalks in the Armenian capital from snow and ice. The paper says that the municipality claims to spend millions of dollars on such a cleanup every winter. “Should we trust in their figures or what we see with our own eyes?” it asks.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” questions the wisdom of the creation by the Armenian government of two new state funds. “It is evident that Serzh Sarkisian and [Prime Minister] Karen Karapetian are each creating new levers in order to strengthen their influence at each other’s expense later on,” speculates the paper. “In theory, competition between these two structures could benefit our economy. But in practice, there is a danger that the damage [caused by them] will be greater. The thing is that funding has been allocated to both structures from the state budget and the modest budgetary funds could be wasted.”
“168 Zham” offers a grim assessment of Armenia’s macroeconomic performance in 2016. “Even more worrying is the fact that 2017 will not be a good year either because negative external factors affecting the Armenian economy will not be eliminated,” claims the paper.